For the past couple years my mom watched a little boy named Connor.
Not only did my mom fall in love with this little stud and his parents, so did my whole family. He has these hilarious mannerisms, and though he can be quiet in a group of new people, the kid has a great sense of what is going on in the room around him. And he is funny, laugh from your belly funny.
Well this rambunctious little monkey has a little bit more going on with him. He has an immune deficiency that has a life expectancy of 25 without a successful bone marrow transplant. For the past couple years his family has done everything within their capabilities to find a bone marrow match, with no luck. I felt like my heart, and especially my mom's heart broke with every step of bad news.
In all honesty, I lost hope.
Does any one else pray the prayer, "God please do X, Y, or Z....but your will be done." That could be a wonderful prayer, if your heart meant it, but mine didn't. My "your will be done" was just an out for God because I didn't want to have to ask WTF when I didn't get what I was asking for. I was asking for good things, for people to be healed, for kids to be saved. Things I know God would want. I wanted to put up a safety net for my heart so it couldn't be broken. In my head I thought it would be God that had the potential to break my heart, but really it is just this broken world. God doesn't want children's lives cut short or love stories to end too soon, and luckily, I truly believe that he can use all circumstances and hardships for good, even the most heart breaking. God is big enough. He is big enough for my WTF prayers and questions. Big enough for my anger. If I want big answers I need to pray those big prayers with no outs and more faith.
When my mom started dating her boyfriend, who we lovingly refer to as Lar-Bear, we knew he only had 18 months to live. They knew it too. They called it dating on steroids and were dedicated to making the most out of their time together. I have never seen my mother so happy, and in all honesty, I was pissed she was only going to get 18 months of it. She finds the love of her life and he is going to be taken away? Another time for a WTF prayer, but instead I ran with the "your will be done" shit. (Again this can be a wonderful and appropriate prayer if I actually meant it and had some peace about it).
I have a thick skull and rock the doubting Thomas card a bit too often in my life.
God's plans for Lar-Bear and my mom were as big as my "X, Y, and Z". He didn't need an out. Without medical reason, Larry's terminal disease stopped progressing (when it had previously been progressing at a rapid rate). And then even more shocking to the medical professionals, he started to improve, something unheard of with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. His disease "arrested." Love that word. So now my mom and Lar-Bear are making plans. Plans for their future. Celebrating the potential to meet grandchildren and to live a life together. Their steroid ways continue and they live this life fully because they have a new and greater appreciation for the time they have been given. God is big and he is good. God would still be big and good, even if Larry wasn't with us today. I do believe his will is perfect, but I think I should also be more honest and allow myself to experience my anger, fear, and doubt to be able to work through it an move forward to live a more full and satisfying life of hope and faith.
Yesterday my mom called to tell me about an amazing Christmas present. They found an almost perfect bone marrow match for Connor. A woman from Japan. I'm coming to embrace the tears that stream down my face as I type those words. It is as though someone went to the lost and found and brought my hope back to me. Now this is not a guarantee, things are still in the beginning processes, but if things continue to move forward, he is looking at a transplant in late January. Again God is telling me that he doesn't need the out. To trust his timing and his goodness. That it is OK to be honest and ask the ugly questions while doing the ugly cry. In the mean time I'm just going to rock the ugly cry with tears of joy. Because that is what us Bender's do apparently. We sob our faces off when we get news like this. I'm going to let the joy and the hope penetrate deep so that I can hold onto it a little bit better when the next situation comes along where I feel myself wanting to let go of it. I'm also going to start asking the WTF's. Because it is real and genuine and because I don't need to put God in a pretty little box. Life is not always pretty or perfect, but it is deep and rich, and I wouldn't have it any other way.
To help myself stop doing the ugly cry I'm going to stare at this...
If this doesn't bring you joy, I don't know what will. I want to blow up this picture and put it on a billboard. The world would be a better place. I hope Connor continues to live his life with the joy and the hope that he has in this picture. I hope he continues to make people belly laugh. What a perfect little dude to receive a perfect Christmas present.