Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Witness to Our Isolation

Before his nap this afternoon, Ben and I read a sweet story about Joshua, a crippled lamb who feels left out because he cannot run and play with the other lambs. In the end, Joshua's handicap, which forces him to remain behind at the stable while the other sheep journey to a far away field, gives him the opportunity to provide warmth to a special baby born in the stable that night. It's the fruition of the promise his cow friend, Abigail, makes throughout: there is a special place for those who feel left out.

As we read about Joshua's tearful disappointment, Ben said, "It's just like Papa sometimes feels sad when we all eat breakfast and Grandma does, too, and he only can have his shake." My dad was recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and has taken on significant dietary restrictions which prevent him from indulging in my mom's famous french toast, a meal served and enthusiastically consumed every time they visit. Generally, my mom adheres to my dad's lifestyle change, but even she can't resist the french toast. While I've never heard my dad complain about having to sacrifice this yummy breakfast, I'm sure Ben--who looks forward to french toast almost as much as he looks forward to playing with Grandma--was projecting how he would feel if he were Papa.

It was fascinating to see him make this connection, to see him empathize with and testify to my dad, who disciplines himself to choose the healthier options when everyone around him is enjoying sugary treats. And it made me wonder if, even in our most isolating experiences, there is someone, somewhere, who sees and acknowledges our struggle--who, even if powerless to change it, gives our situation meaning beyond what we may understand in the moment.

Perhaps our plight is not in vain...


  1. You are making me see life from a different angle. It is Ben's thinking and your writing mixed together that is illuminating.

  2. Thanks, Dad. He makes me look at things differently, too. All part of God's plan in giving us the gift of children, I guess: it's a gift of new eyes.


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