Much like my life, this blog has morphed into something unexpected.
When our youngest son was born with Down syndrome in 1997, I remember thinking, “we are not going to become a Down syndrome family.” What I meant by that is that I didn’t want the disability of one of our seven children to define and describe all of us. I was resisting a label not of my choosing, much like someone whose expectation had been lifelong marriage would resist the label “divorced.” I was bucking the idea that I was not in control.
But in the 18 years since then, I’ve learned that I most certainly am not in control – neither of my life nor of the lives of any of those in my family: God is. He uses the experiences of life to influence and form us. Taken together and over a lifetime, they do define us and describe us.
Now a different kind of curve ball has begun to define me and my family. We’re “the ones whose teenage son was killed in a hit-and-run accident.” I’m aware of this less from the comments people of our community make than by the careful avoidance of that topic even though they know, and I know they know.
This blog was begun, as I’ve written before, to chronicle the renovation of our old house and the lessons in contentment God has taught me through it. For many months I made no mention in my posts of the tragic death of our son. That was because it didn’t fit the light-hearted approach I took to the struggles of living amidst a major remodelling.
But the posts I’ve finally written about Paul’s death and the subsequent court case are the ones most read. I don’t really know why that is. Perhaps the deepest fear parents have — loss of a child — prompts them to read about it in someone else’s life. I can understand that. To be forewarned is to be forearmed, my mother used to say. Yet, to me, it felt somehow self-serving (“look how much I’ve suffered”) or opportunistic (“read all about my son’s death so I can get a blog following”) to broadcast such tender vulnerability.
I’ve come to see that labels and categorization are great on your spice shelf, and not so helpful to define life. So I’m changing the subheading of my blog to better reflect what God is really about in my life: Renovating my home and heart.
I’ll be trying to show the progress we make on windows and walls, without avoiding mention of the deeper trials and tears.
Please don’t think me callous and flippant if one post is on our new exterior siding, and the next one deals with aspects of grieving! Cause that’s just how life is, right?