When I meet wise people, I want the world to know them. I recently met Cindi, who has grown wise through the trials of life. She and her husband, Joe, have a son with disabilities, so they will never enjoy many of the freedoms most people expect in life. But because they have faithfully followed Christ as Lord, Cindi and Joe live with contentment. They know how great God is, how He has carried them—and continues to carry them—through life’s challenges.
The following are Cindi’s words, and I hope you enjoy them.
Do you know who said, “For every laugh there should be a tear”? It was Walt Disney. All of us probably enjoy that sentiment for great books and storytelling, movies and shows, but for real life, it seems most would prefer laughter and smiles all the time. That makes life more fun and enjoyable and, well, happy! But if all we did was laugh, and if life was just about always having a good time, I wonder how much we’d appreciate it. Sometimes I think we need those deeper valleys of sadness, grief, disappointment, and challenge to really appreciate the times when life is lighter, fun, and even outrageously wonderful.
Having shed a good many tears over the almost 30 years of caring for our son with special needs, I have come to realize that those many tears have also been balanced with many times of laughter—sometimes with our son, sometimes at him or at ourselves, and sometimes just because it was the best way to let off steam under the stressful pressure of life! Proverbs 14:13 reminds me that “even in laughter the heart may be in pain, and the end of joy may be grief.” Yes, we might wear smiles on our faces, yet have underlying sadness, pain, or challenge. Life is difficult, but we find that for us the joys and sorrows are balanced in most of life.
I used to wonder if God could really give us just what we need. Can we really “make lemonade from lemons,” as one saying goes? Does God really open a window when He closes a door? Might Proverbs 11:1 be true—“A false balance is an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is His delight”—as we began to look for that balance? Before long, we were able to see it more clearly . . . not being given too much of one thing and not enough of the other, but just what we need.
Over these years, I’ve had to make it a point to look for, recognize, and find laughter and tears, joys and sorrows. By human nature, most of us tend to notice the negative and forget about, or not see, the positive. Here are a few things that come quickly to my mind.
- My son is not healed.
- My son is not able to talk well. (He started talking at around age 12.)
- We do not have the freedom to do some things because our son can’t participate.
- We are not empty-nesters, thus we can’t do things with our friends who can pick up and go whenever they’d like.
- Both parents died within five days of each other.
- All four of our parents and a brother died within a few short years.
- We’ve met many wonderful people because of my son and his disabilities.
- My son never says anything unkind or spreads gossip.
- We’ve learned to be content in whatever we CAN or CAN’T do.
- We realize we’ll have a companion in our son for a long, long time.
- We have many funny stories to share from our son and our parents that will keep us smiling.
So today, I might just take a few minutes and list the things going on in my life that are positive, fun, and bring laughter. I think I’ll keep adding to that list and look at it from time to time when I’m feeling low, disappointed, sad, or really frustrated. I know I need to purposely concentrate on that which is positive.
How about you? What will your list look like?