This month I took Faith to Shriner’s Hospital for her annual scoliosis checkup. I have been going there with her since she was a newborn baby. Thankfully, all we have had to do is get regular x-rays and nothing else. Th…e first time I carried her into that hospital as a infant, I remember feeling very strange and out-of-place being there. I looked around at all of the other children, many of whom had far more difficult challenges than a crooked spine. There are always children there with casts and braces of various kinds, missing and deformed limbs, mental and physical retardation. I almost felt guilty bringing my otherwise healthy child there for an x-ray. But I reminded myself that she still has scoliosis. We are very fortunate that she has never had to have surgery or any other correction for it, but she has every right (and need) to go to that hospital as the other sweet children do. And each time I take her for her checkup, seeing the other kids there snaps me back to a grateful awareness for how well she is doing.
At this month’s visit, my very-wise 9 year old looked around, leaned close to me and said “Mommy, I feel kind of strange, almost like I don’t belong here.” I understood exactly what she meant, and I explained to her that I felt that very same way the first time I brought her there as a baby. But I gave her a kiss and then I told her that when I feel that way, I simply see that feeling as an opportunity to feel extra-grateful that she is as healthy and happy and growing as well as she is. I also explained that each of the kids in the waiting room have various struggles that they are meant to learn from, and that their loved ones are meant to learn from them. She smiled a comforted, knowing sort of smile and that was the last she mentioned it.
I have come to understand that each of us is on a unique journey and we each have very different lessons that we are meant to learn. The various struggles and obstacles that we each face are there to teach us whatever lessons we are meant to learn. Looking at life that way helps me to keep the bigger perspective in mind when I am faced with a problem. I look at the situation and try to figure out what the lessons are that are embedded in that particular struggle. Hopefully, I helped my 9-year-old to understand that same idea.