Friday, September 12, 2008

A Personal Journey

“I don't want to drive up to the pearly gates in a shiny sports car, wearing beautifully tailored clothes, my hair expertly coiffed, and with long, perfectly manicured fingernails.I want to drive up in a station wagon that has mud on the wheels from taking kids to scout camp. I want to be there with grass stains on my shoes from mowing Sister Schenk's lawn. I want to be there with a smudge of peanut butter on my shirt from making sandwiches for a sick neighbor's children. I want to be there with a little dirt under my fingernails from helping to weed someone's garden. I want to be there with children's sticky kisses on my cheeks and the tears of a friend on my shoulder. I want the Lord to know I was really here and that I really lived.” ~ Marjorie Pay Hinckley

Last Sunday we sat in church, waiting to partake of the sacrament. I looked over at my son, Bryan, and noticed large tears welling up in his eyes. I gently elbowed my husband to ask if he knew what was wrong. He glanced at him and with concern on his face then looked back at me and shrugged.

I leaned over and whispered, “Hey, Bry. What’s wrong?” He looked down at his hands and said quietly, “I just wish sometimes I was normal.”

My son has dealt with a seizure disorder for most of his life. He has had three brain surgeries. After each, the seizures stopped for a period of time, but then always returned.
If you know Bryan, you probably think of him as the happiest, most carefree child in the world. He has a good heart and loves to make people laugh. He handles his trials so well that last Sunday caught me off guard.

Pulling him between me and my husband, I put an arm around his shoulder. “Who decides what’s normal, Bryan?”

He shrugged. “I just want to be like other kids. I hate seizures. They scare me and I don’t want anyone to see me have one.”

I nodded my understanding then whispered, “Well, there are lots of days when you don’t have seizures. Aren’t those normal days when you’re a normal kid?”

He smiled weakly and said, “I guess so.” I knew he wasn’t convinced.

After a silent prayer I added, “I really believe, Bry, that some of the most incredible things about you have come from what you’ve had to learn to deal with. You hate to see people feel bad, whether they’re hurt or sick. You’re a friend to everybody—especially people who some people consider ‘different.’ You have such a caring heart that you’ll do anything to help others whenever they’re in need. You go out of your way to make others happy. Besides that, you’ve been able to see miracles come to pass in your life. I think that’s because Heavenly Father loves you. He knew this wouldn’t to be easy for you, but He also knew that you could fill a very important mission no matter how hard it gets. Maybe He has something even bigger in store for you. In the meantime, I promise we’ll keep doing everything we can to help you through this. Okay?”

He hugged and kissed me. When the bishopric opened the meeting for testimonies, Bryan was the first one on the stand to declare that he “knew the Lord was true.”

Indeed He is, Bryan.

I love the quote by Sister Hinckley. I began my first blog with it because it says so well how I want to live my life.

I was terrified to begin to blog because, like my sweet son, I don’t want my inadequacies to show—I only want to appear “normal.” I feared that writing here regularly might flaunt my flaws. Thank goodness I have Bryan and Sister Hinckley to remind me that things aren’t always about me—the best things are what we share with others.

With that in mind, I invite you to read of my learning experiences and life’s adventures. I may or may not appear normal, and you can expect plenty of flaws! Here will be my thoughts, my hopes, and my dreams—a personal record that I was here and how I lived.