Friday, July 21, 2017
These are a few pictures from our vacation that I love. Playing in the sand. Kite flying. Wearing her puddle jumper and goggles despite the fact that she never went anywhere deep enough to need either in the ocean. They're real. They make me smile as I remember how fun it was. How relaxing it felt.
While we were there one night, a family arrived at the beach. All of them were wearing nice clothes. The mother walked into the water, and started posing, as the father took pictures with his phone, while giving instructions of how to turn to get her hair to flow more, and her chin in just the right position. I continued to play with Abigail while taking in the family. They did rehearsed videos of walking and holding hands, acting surprised when a shell was given, and numerous takes of each person to get just the right angle and picture. All on cell phones-so they weren't professional pictures. I have no idea what their reason was. Nor, am I saying that there may not have been a legitimate reason to do this. It just struck me as intriguing as I watched all of the other families capturing pictures as their children ran into the ocean with boogie boards, built sand castles, and looked for shells and creatures on the beach. I couldn't figure out why they would need to work so hard to capture perfect pictures when the beach is an amazing way to make perfect memories. The whole thing has stuck with me.
The past weeks have been filled with appointments. Mostly for Tiny. Although, Big's MRI and oncology follow up for her glioma was in there as well. Overall the appointments weren't horrible. But, we've been bombarded with information. Some suspected. Some a complete surprise. And, as we officially started the process of genetic testing for Tiny today, I recalled all of the times people have said, 'well, he looks normal.'
My thoughts skipped to the church we belong to. It's full of people who are a hot mess (spoiler alert, all churches are). But, they're all so willing to share their mess. It's a beautiful image of what the body of Christ is to be. So many places, everyone looks the same. They talk the same. They pepper their language with how great God is. All the time.
But, the body isn't made up of parts that have it all together. It's made up of my daughter with an extra chromosome who uses a wheelchair. It's made of people who have been addicted. People who have had abortions. People who hate others. People who need glasses to see clearly. When all those parts connect, and work together, it's just a big jumble of imperfect. There are hard conversations about forgetting to make things accessible for people who use wheelchairs. There are sometimes hurtful things said to one another. Everyone shares in the mess, the same way our physical bodies sometimes have parts that don't work well with others.
There are other places like ours. I'm sure of it. There are also lots of places that look like the family at the beach. The ones who say, 'well he looks normal.' As if saying, 'I know we are all imperfect. But, at least we can pass for having it all together.' It's a badge. Only post the great pictures. The uplifting stories. If you share something hard in your life, make sure to follow it with, 'but, I know that God is good.'
But, we want so badly to look normal. Churches. Families. Individuals. We pose. We take the same picture adjusting the angle over and over until we have the ones to post that looks just right.
The truth, we're all broken. When we go to the beach, we get sand in our bathing suits. And, if you live here for long, you are going to experience hard things that make you question things about faith, and God, and those around you. You're going to realize that the people who try the hardest to look 'normal' are just as broken as the one who is noticeably a mess.
We're a mess. Our beach pictures. Our home. Our children's chromosomes. Our faith. And, if sharing our journey, honestly, helps one other person be brave, it's worth it. I have found it's much more fun to just enjoy the beach than to dress up and pose. Sure, there's more sand, and possible sunburn. But, the memories are pretty amazing.