Micaela looked down at her braces with an interesting mix of curiosity and horror. I watched and held my breath. Would she cry? Would she protest? I stayed near, ready to come and hold her, distract her if she became upset that she still had these clunky braces stuck to her legs.
But after a few moments she found a block lying a foot away and threw herself down on the floor so she could reach out and grab it. Her movements were clumsy and awkward. My heart sank. It had taken us months to get where we were with our mobility. And now these braces. It was like we had spent half a year taking two steps forward and would be sent three steps back.
Micaela let out a frustrated growl. Her legs seemed to move lethargically. I bit my lip. I talked to her, making my voice extra-perky, but that smart little girl knew better and continued to protest. I played with her and talked with her, but eventually life kept moving forward and I had to walk away, leave her to play on her own. She did not move much that morning. That afternoon I gave her a break from the braces and she gleefully rolled around, free from restriction. That night she slept with them on. The specialist recommended that she keep them on about 23 hours a day.
Day two. She figured out how to take them off and chew on them. I was reattaching braces to her legs all day long. Micaela loved it. Finally a game she could endorse.
I threw tighter pants and rubber-footed socks on her for day three. Her game was over. I waited for the crying and frustration, but she was over it. She threw herself on the ground and began to explore the house. When I found her in the kitchen chewing on tomatillo skins I cocked my head and said, "Goodness, love, you are much more resilient than I am." She is.
Why? Because she does not get caught up in her plight in life, she does not ponder it and wade in it and let it become her identity. No, she is moving forward. It might be hard. Things are weighing her down and making it harder than it is for anyone else, but it doesn't matter. She isn't anyone else. She is going ahead, not staying in place.
Over and over she has chosen to focus on where she is going and not what is weighing her down.
Isn't it amazing when our kids teach us something deep and important? I think about my writing and how I have a million and one excuses to stop and put my dreams away for awhile, but in order to move forward I cannot dwell on my disadvantages.
And it applies to every other challenge we are faced with day-to-day like having to be hungry if we want to lose weight when our best friend never struggles with dieting. Like having to somehow find the energy and love to care for our family when we had to wake up five times during the night and everyone is well-rested except us. Like having to do without the latest fashion for this season's wardrobe so that you can put money away for that down-payment on the house. What are we going to focus on--What we are moving towards? Or what is weighing us down?
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.