Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Sophie's Choice

I feel a little like Meryl Streep in Sophie’s Choice.

(If you’re a mother and that doesn’t conjure up a mental heartwrench for you, read the book by Styron.)

When I was pregnant for the second time, I felt a strange compassion for that unknown child. Katherine was so exceptionally stellar in every way, how could anyone survive following in those formidable firstborn footsteps? But as soon as the brave little intruder and I connected on the delivery table, I got it. “He loves each of us as if there were only one of us...”

And so we love our children, unless we are impaired beyond repair.

But unlike the perfect parent, I cannot be in more than one place at a time. Now I am in a tropical paradise celebrating a milestone with one child, while another child faces tremendous suffering without her mother’s care. How can this be reconciled?

I have to come back to that point where I recognize, definitively, that ‘my’ children really aren’t even mine. I remind myself that I am just their temporarily appointed guardian. I have many limitations and failures in that role, but it does no one any good for me to beat myself up about it. We can do absolutely everything right and still end up with damaged kids. We can do everything wrong, and end up with well-adjusted over-achievers...because, like everything else in life, it’s not all up to us. We do the best that we can, one day at a time, operating out of our own inadequacies and the baggage that’s been handed down to us. (And we’ve all got STUFF as a pastor friend liked to remind his congregation.) Imperfect people give birth to imperfect people who give birth to imperfect people...

So we cannot love perfectly. We cannot protect our children from every harm. Sometimes, we can’t even protect them from ourselves.

But we can start learning to let go.

We can try to trust the one who made them for Himself, who knew them before we did.

I am going to start trying now.

(...He'll have to help me.)

7 comments:

Ginny Evans said...

You are an amazing woman Kim and I do not even know you. But reading all of your blogs, I have come to know a very deep, kind, compassionate, understanding woman of God, full of Faith, love and hope and that is enough for anyone!
Where ever you are is where you are supposed to be right now and God is taking care of your Katherine as no one else could. He has not brought all of you this far to let you down. He has great plans for Katherine, Jason and little James and He will provide all of your needs as well as theirs. Know that you are a strength, so full of reality, and that is a place many of us have a problem going. With you, it seems to come natural and you are a blessing to all who know you and those who do not but read your blogs. We need to all be more like you!!

Nancy said...

KIm, I am glad you are with Grace. I know it means a lot to her. The youngest never got "just us" very much so I am sure she appreciates it. You showed courage again by leaving Katherine and going with Grace. You have amazed me and Oh I only wish I could see you soon to give you a hug and tell you we love you.
MM and I are at the beach also, just the 2 of us for a couple days till her dad gets here. She and Grace begin their journey of a new life soon. A lot has happened the last 3 months to both families and they have much more in common now than they realize. Someday soon we will get together....
have peace today and this week. Gather strength for the months ahead. Fill your heart and soul with the Spirit of God. He hears your prayers.
Much love,
Nancy Blue

suzirockett said...

I have so missed your postings..selfish a bit, and yet I feel God is using you to refine those of us...the many who are walking along side all of you in prayer. How torn you must feel. But I pray you can gather stregth from time away. We are lifting Kat in costant prayer, and all of your're dear sweet family as well.
Your courage,compassion, and grace
is a look into the heart of God.

Julie Powell Caldwell said...

Kim, I always look forward to reading your posts. This one is right in line with a song I'm writing. I only have the chorus, but here it is ...

It all belongs to You, Lord
It all belongs to You
You let me hold it for a moment
But it all belongs to You
Sometimes I struggle and I strive
Try so hard to make it mine
But it all belongs to You, Lord
It all belongs to You.

---

Love and blessings to you, Julie (Powell) Caldwell

gwen said...

Hi Kim,

I also don't know you, Katherine or Jay. I'm a member at Bel Air Pres and have been praying for you all since I heard about Katherine. As others have written in previous comments, your honesty amidst this chaos is a glimpse into the heart of The Father. Thank you for sharing as it's provided insight that is strengthening my faith in ways I can't explain. You are an amazing mother and an example to us all. I pray that He will give you much needed rest during your time away and the freedom to allow yourself to do so. As difficult as it must be to watch your own child in pain, your post reminded me that we are all His children and He sees your pain in all this too. Many blessings to you.

flanneryfamily said...

I am a friend of Katherine's from Samford. I have been praying constantly for her and cannot get her off of my mind. She is such a precious person that cannot help but give life to everyone she is around. I just wanted to let you know that I can see exactly where she got it from. You have written some of the most beautiful things on this website...honest, transparent, and full of faith. It is has been such a blessing to me to see your heart..... one that overflows with love for the Lord and your children. Thank you for being real with us and being such an awesome example of God's sufficiency, even in such a time of suffering. I know Katherine is blessed to have you as her mother. I will continue to diligently pray for Katherine and for your whole family.

Love & prayers,

Ellen

Sternie Central said...

thank you for sharing all of you during this. i am an avm survivor like your daughter although i am beyond blessed to not have had the stroke. i appreciate my days more than ever now and i am with katherine as she reminds me of what i have. i really hold her in a way that i give her all the strength that i do have, by being in this second chance to life. i am just starting to deal with what happened to me and being with you all helps me come out of my own shock of it. please accept my help if i can ever be, it would bring me such satisfaction to give to her and you all.
andrea stern in LA