Friday, January 8, 2016

Five Basic Lessons of Unconditional Love

unconditional love

One week down, 51 more to go! How was your first week of 2016? We ended 2015 with a trip to the McKlevey Transplant Center at Emory. Steve began the evaluation process for a double lung transplant. He didn't get listed yet. He goes back in three months for further evaluation. When we married 30 years ago, I thanked God (and still do) for someone who loves me in my "condition". I never, for one minute, considered my health would ever be better than his.

I accepted my plight early in life. I liberated myself in 2010 when I shared my story in Labeled by Humanity, Loved by God. Birth defects are humbling. The world is harsh and getting harsher. Abnormalities are more generally accepted today than 50 years ago but still categorized poorly.  I watch my husband struggle uncomfortably to fit in with his new-found requirement for oxygen supplementation. I've overcome the stares of a perpetual limp from curious people. I'm pained he has to endure the torture and breathlessness of a chronic lung disease coupled with feeling inadequate due to human standards.

Our goal for our children is unconditional love. The one thing our children will never do is make others feel degraded or less for any reason. Here are five basic lessons of unconditional love we instilled: 
  • Different is good. Diversity was cool in our home before it became a popular buzzword. 
  • Prayer before pity. Pity may not be a bad thing if displayed correctly as compassion. I choose to avoid pity because most often it comes across as sadness or misfortune. A prayer is always the best option.
  • Wear a smile. A smile is so much more comforting than that furrowed brow frown. Since I have exploited myself and Steve has been sick, I've been greeted with way too many sad faces. Go to a mirror, think of something sad and watch your face. Caring does not a sad face make.
  • Keep your eyeballs to yourself. Short and simple. Do not stare, gawk or crane. Jesus gave us a neck to bow before him in honor and praise.
  • Take time for all. Individuals are put into our lives for various reasons, some we understand and some we may never have revealed. Judgement may cost us a blessing.
When I momentarily forget our greater purpose, I cling to 2 Corinthians 12:8-10. "For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

Yes, Jesus loves us...

The Happy Handicap

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