What Harvard Said

HarvardI think I’ve had an epiphany. Granted, I pulled a night shift last night and only got 2 hours of sleep this a.m., but one could argue that I’m so tired that my heart is able to speak up since my brain is so fatigued. Well, one could.
I had a routine Dr.’s appt today. I use the word routine loosely, as its been 4 years since the last one, but I dutifully found a new Dr. who happened to be in my network (good grief, so much to learn about the American health system for this little Canuck), and proceeded to unpack my history for her. I had noticed her credentials on the wall included Harvard, and thought to myself that at least my husband would be impressed. For some reason it also made her subsequent comment to me register in a new key:
She said it was unusual that after having 1 child with a normal birth, then 2 children born with difficulties, that I would then have a 4th child with absolutely no issues. The 1st and the 4th of my brood are completely normal (define normal? ah, I kid!), and its only been in the recent past that I have been able to ruminate on that fact without pain.

My mother-in-law has made comments over the years about the love and grace of God being evident through all 3 of my girls, particularly referring to the order in which they were born. Meaning that it was a marvel that our youngest was “normal”. I agreed, but wasn’t able to process it fully because as far as I was concerned it was my body that failed two of my children, so in turn it was my fault. I couldn’t properly focus on the miracle of life when I felt I had caused death.

This warped view of my hand in the death of our 8 month old son, and then the birth of our daughter who has Down syndrome and autism has inevitably lent itself to a solid 16 years of believing I was cursed. I had proof for pete’s sake! There was no beauty, no health, no promise, no hope for me. Of course, I constantly looked for some sort of cure, at least physically, but the belief I held in my heart was toxic and permeated my whole being. God had no hand in my unfortunate circumstances, He was good. I couldn’t allow myself to bring Him into the mix, because it would only sully His reputation. Ha! look at me, trying to protect God!

Slowly, over time, I have relented and cocked my head to listen to Him whisper words of great love and worth to me. Me, of all people. And slowly, it has begun to seep in and soak up all the toxins that were killing me. On a heart level I have begun to see that even though He didn’t cruelly create my circumstances, He was always there waiting for me see Him. I must admit though, that I didn’t really think He would have done anything then. To be true, I would have to say that I have always been horribly frightened that something bad would still happen to our youngest. It would only seem natural.

Not long ago, I forgave myself. It was very hard to do, and took awhile, but I did it. One of the profound meanings of the word is “to release”. I have released myself from slavery to blame and persecution regarding my precious children, and have begun to experience life in a new light. I no longer am a slave to guilt, or at least I try to remember to dump it at His feet when I start down that road.

Back to “Dr. Harvard”. There was something about her comment that struck a chord and I finally heard it’s tune tonight as I relayed my day to my husband. Somebody with no previous knowledge of me, my history, my family, or what kind of person I am pretty much told me it wasn’t my fault. To anyone else it may not sound like that, but to me, that is what I have heard. I do not pretend to know or even want to get into all the theological hypotheses surrounding this, but my heart and my brain have heard today that, scientifically speaking, it was unusual to have a normal child born after 2 previous difficulties.
Do you know what this means to me? Not only did God begin to heal me by removing all condemnation on a spiritual and heart platform, but He has just released me from any niggling tendencies to take the blame back.

This is my epiphany: my Beloved saw me as His Beloved even when I did not see Him. He was there, and He intervened. He did the unusual. In my life. Not because I asked Him to, but because He saw fit to. This is monumental to my heart! He saw me and He loved me even when I did not love Him back. I probably could have told you that before, but not have meant it the same way I do now. We won’t pretend to notice the train of thought I could board right now regarding how He loves each of my babies…

Pretty cool how He used Harvard today, I must say.

** post originally written Spring of 2012

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