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Bugs & Gifts


"Tests are a gift. And great tests are a great gift. To fail the test is a misfortune. But to refuse the test is to refuse the gift, and something worse, more irrevocable, than misfortune."   
From Shards of Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold

For some reason, maybe because there is more down-time, or maybe because the wretched humidity encourages such growth; like flies, summer is a time when the little larvae of insecurity and desires start to grow large, pupate and swarm...
Ok, I may have bugs on the brain too this time of year, because as anyone who works outside can attest, bugs are the worst thing ever and ever. 
So are bad thoughts.
Thoughts that start out as larvae of resentment or frustration and pupate into full blown depression or anxiety that no bug dope on this earth is strong enough to relieve.

Exhibit A: 
A young(ish) mother with some of the world yet to see and live, accepts the gift of a child to keep, raise and love forever and ever. Immediately the landscape changes in a mysterious and unpredictable way the world narrows to a single face. The face of her child. Eventually the lens widens again, and in the viewfinder we see the mother's world also expand, but never quite again in the same way as before. There are places that are off-limits, roads that are closed, and some dead-ends. But mostly, you see a super highway, strong and smooth which the mother has paved with her life's choices and experiences and most importantly, her love. And though the scenery doesn't waver, it is steady and peaceful.

So what? That's the norm when you have a kid, right? Next... 

Exhibit B:
A (too)young mother with the whole world left to see and live accepts the gift of a child to keep, raise and love forever and ever. But the gift, they say, is broken. Not right! Not healthy. Not like all the rest. Immediately the landscape changes, much like in exhibit A: everything goes away and all the mother sees is her child's face. But in this case, the view is outlined in fear and uncertainty. There is also love, or course there is so so much love! Broken or whole, a mother loves her child. But the lens, as time goes on, does not expand so much as it changes its nature. From a transparent lens it transforms to one that is tinted, filtered, and perhaps in some cases, damaged. The road of this mother is not smooth or wide, and sometimes it is more frail than strong. Her love may be constant, but the fear is also present in every turn and bend of the road. In her confusion the picture can only focus a few feet ahead of her. She feels like everything else is blurry, hidden, and impossible. She has her child, that much is true, but can it be enough to build a safe passage? What if her child was taken away? Broken again but this time forever? As her fear grows, her view of the sun shrinks and shrinks. She resents the sun as much as she resents the darkness! She resents other mothers with smoother roads, she resents hale children who run and talk and play freely; she wears her broken lens like armor against the whole world. Her gift has become her misfortune.

Yikes. That's a rough one!
Yeah you bet, but both these exhibits are real and true albeit a little exaggerated for effect...
There are so many horrible bugs and sad stories and exhibits out there right now folks, and yes, sometimes I'm one of them myself. Leo's health and special needs (how I hate those words) is a constant player and limiter in every single choice I make. I often resent that and many other things in my life. Yet every mother is a mix of many different things; most of us have or will suffer misfortunes and tests of all types, and often seriously life changing ones too. Life changing perhaps, but life limiting? Life ending? Life spent in darkness and anger and depression? That is the exit where exhibit B mother is stuck at. But one can't control life's tests and challenges. One plays with the hand that's been dealt, with the tests that are given, but ultimately and mysteriously, the only thing separating exhibit A and B is a filtered piece of looking glass. 
Shatter it, and see the sun again.
Strip away the layers of doubt, resentment, fear,
and see the wondrous colors of truth and courage.
Perhaps the road is still gritty and rough, because there are always and will be failures of sorts, but it is true, and it has been earned. The mother that built it, built it not on fear, or even love, but with faith. We build our own roads, but even more essentially, we build our own looking glasses.






By the way, if you haven't ever read the Miles series by Bujold, you probably should. Like right now. Starting with Shards. Good stuff, that.

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