Monday, June 3, 2013

Why do we wait to say "thank you"

I've been thinking about goodbyes lately as Abby's last day approached after four safe years at St. Rose.  I've had to learn how to put things in boxes in my mind and deal with them as I have the time, energy or the emotional room.  There are just too many things that go on in any given day for me to process it all as it comes and deal with it to closure.  There are also just times when situations are simply out of my control.  I have to hand it to someone else (or more accurately, God) to finish what I'd like to think I can just do on my own.  I'd like to wrap each situation up nice and neatly before moving on to the next, but that just isn't reality.  Life doesn't usually fit neatly into boxes we can take out and put away and then move on to the next.  There are often loose strings that cannot be tied up and we have to let them go and move on anyway or risk wasting our lives spinning our wheels over stuff that really isn't ours to hold.

I spent more time at St Rose the past couple of weeks as the school year was winding down and I found myself more observant of each and every person there.  I've always really appreciated our time there, but couldn't process the reality of how great they all really were with my girl.  The reality that I could send her there with more than one person to look after her and truly love her, is a lot to take in.  It's easier to not think about, but putting together gifts for these people made me look at it and somehow gave me permission to be thankful for our time there and mourn for its loss in our lives as the end approaches.

Abby, Ms Ethel and Noah... her friend 
Abby loved school!  She loved all the kids and teachers there, and they somehow appreciated my girl and her place in God's world in a way I never expected.  St Rose taught me to expect more from people.  To give them a chance to be a part of her life and be challenged by her.  I know God put her in our lives for a reason, but to look around and see her impact on a whole school family... hmmm.... Wow!  That's so much bigger than me!  Whenever I want to hold her and protect her from this life, times like this remind me that I'd be robbing others of her as well.  The responsibility of that reality challenges my faith and trust in my God.  Do I say, "Yes, Lord... to whatever you ask (of Abby) anytime, anywhere?"  I have to say that for her.  My totally vulnerable angel that He put in my life to see if I would help her find her wings and let her go enough to be apart from me and impact others?  I have to let go and trust He will care for her while she is unable to care for herself.  It goes against everything I learned about parenting.  I desire to prepare them... equip them... send them out when they are ready, yet I think the Lord says, "They are mine... from the start.  Why are you waiting to let go when they were never just yours?"  Do I think they should be self sufficient before I teach them to trust in God?  Do we sprinkle trusting God into their training or is their identity rooted in Him from the start?  How do I raise my other two with the same faith I've been forced to develop with Abby?

I ponder how I let go of Abby so much easier now because I know I have no control.  Her care is so beyond me realistically that I worry less about her than the other girls, but is that wrong?  Do I hang onto them because I actually think I can?  Do I somehow think I have more control?  It's one of those things that you don't realize how ludicrous it sounds until you say it aloud.  I do trust God for the next steps in our lives, so I don't fear as much but I also realize there is a good chance that the smooth ride I've grown accustomed to might not be so.  Regardless, God is still good and in control.  He has a plan for all or our lives beyond what I can see or how I feel about His direction.  He has as much control with my younger girls as He does with Abby, yet I hang on to them in some ways much tighter than Abby.  But in other ways I try to protect Abby because she's so vulnerable in this world.  I guess there is a part of me that lives with Abby in the next world.  I see her whole and perfect in Heaven and long for that, but the other two I see them on earth more than I should?  Abby fulfills her purpose, but I have so much more training to do with the other two to help lead them to follow Christ on their own; whereas, Abby just does.  She is who she is supposed to be regardless of what I do... well, not entirely but in a sense.  I could keep her locked up in a bubble suit to protect her, but I don't as I trust God's work in her life.  Does that mean that I trust His work in the other two less?  I may not believe so, but do my actions indicate otherwise?

So...
Just hanging out doing some coloring on the last day of school 
I find myself fighting the tears.  For those who know me the tears are easy, yet why do I fight against them?  Why do they bother me?  Do I see it as a sign of weakness?   I should be accustomed to being weak at this point.  Should I let the streams flow freely so everyone knows our sadness or do I continue in vain to appear strong?

I chastised myself as I wrote on the coasters I tucked into each teacher's going away present for not expressing our gratitude more often.  Why do we wait for goodbyes to tell people how we really feel?  Is it because we don't explore our feelings until we have to?  Am I forthright because I've come to the end of my opportunity to do so?  I sketched one of my favorite lines into the bottom of each coaster, which read "Some people come into our lives and leave footprints on our hearts... for which we are never the same.-Author unknown"  I know Abby leaves her "footprints" on many and each time I get to see it I am grateful all the more for her life  :)  I also want all those around us to know that their "footprints" will be left on our hearts as well.  I wish I had said "thank you" more.  My heart screamed it each day when I drove into the school yard to pick her up, but my lips really couldn't have said it enough.

Thank you, St. Rose for loving our girl and seeing the value of her in your life and your kids' lives :)  Our lives will forever be changed by our time there...


1 comment:

  1. Not the same situation, but I never really thanked the speakers at the women's retreat because I was going to write "nice notes" right away....good intentions resulted in my not thanking the women who shared (including you!). THANK YOU!

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