On Not Giving Thanks

Photo credit  Hey Paul Studios.

Photo credit Hey Paul Studios.

You know how thankful I am for Collin. He is my beloved son, my little partner in crime, my personal teacher of patience and joy and gratitude. But the fact is that I do not give thanks for everything in Collin's life.

As we approach Thanksgiving, there is an unspoken pressure to put aside the hard things and give voice only to the good. But that's not realistic, healthy, or even desirable. 

In fact, you have to name the things plaguing or haunting or hurting you in order to accurately name the things you're genuinely thankful for.

I'm a Christian, so I'm mindful of the letter to the Thessalonians that calls us to "give thanks in all things." But the key word to me is "in". Give thanks in all things. Not for all things. Even in a situation you might wish were different, keep watch for the beauty and grace.

So, am I thankful that Collin can't walk? No. But I am thankful for his sweet wheelchair and ramp van that enable him to explore his world without destroying my back.

Am I thankful that Collin can't speak? No. But I am thankful for all of the other ways he communicates with me; his smiles and laughs, the body language he has developed and the communication device he is learning to use.

Am I thankful that Collin has Wiedemann-Steiner Syndrome and for all of the medical, developmental, and social challenges that come along with that diagnosis? No, I am not. But am I thankful for who Collin is as a person? For his good health today? For his small, miraculous milestones? For the people who step into his life and love him well? You better believe it.