Monday, September 27, 2004

Why do I still get sad?

The question was posted by the Mom of a Ds child, upon meeting a family with an older child with T21. The encounter left her in kind of a funk. Bittersweet. Here's what I wrote:

Some random thoughts - We all have, and we don't have. It sometimes makes me sad that I can't give my son everything that he wants - that he'll only go to Harvard if he works his butt off. It sometimes makes me sad that we live in such a small house, even though it's worth over a half a million dollars - in Southern CA. It makes me sad that I can't provide the kind of life that we think we want. I wish I had the skills to be more popular, thinner, charismatic. This does not compare to a physical disability, but I think it's human nature. There was a study just released that indicated that there were higher levels of depression in those making more than 50k/yr than those making less than 15k/yr. The reasons for this can be many, it still makes one go "hmmmmm".My Dad developed a disability as a child, and found a way to walk from the knees down - without using his hips - to accomplish his goals. He was the first person ever to receive both artificial hip joints in the same operation (1973). Did the disability make him a better person? Probably in his ability to relate to others' suffering (as a Pastor). Did it hamper him? Of course. Did I miss some stuff as a kid because of it? Sure. Was/is he successful? I won't cite his resume, but yes. Ds is an obvious, physical and mental "handicap". Some of your and my deficits are harder to see. The reality of it all can be depressing, and that's when you do exactly what we're doing - recognize it for what it is, try and put it in perspective, and then count your blessings and find the joy that we can bring each other.I was driving home yesterday, and they had an interview on PBS radio (yeah, I'm one of those people) with Mavis Staples, one of the great gospel singers of our age. She was asked what song she sings when she gets down. She started to sing, slowly, as only she could "It is no secret, what God can do. . . what He's done for others, he'll do for you. . . " now, that may mean nothing to those of you who've never heard it, but there were tears running down my face as I tried to make it the rest of the way home. I was reminded, at the end of a typical crap day at my job, that I need to keep the faith, I need to seek hope from others, I need to just keep keepin on. I am blessed, and my family, including my daughter, live in the best times possible for us. We live in the richest, free-est society the world has ever seen. I'm preaching now, sorry. I am not diminishing your feelings at all, I'm telling you about my journey, too. It's not o.k., but it's bearable. And there's happiness to be found. It can be hard.