Parents of kids with special needs get this line all the time. I personally don’t think God is some wise old dude in the sky, doling out disabilities based on parental strength. Often it seems people use this quote because they don’t know what to say or do, and they feel helpless. Or worse, it is a way of washing their hands of the situation. God did it. Who can argue?
If you are ever thinking about letting that tired old line roll off your tongue, here is an alternative to try, which I guarantee will go over better…
“How ’bout I baby-sit for a couple of hours?”
Even if the parents can’t let go of their white knuckle grip and let you, they’ll remember your kindness.
Anyhoo. Windsong, Cleveland’s feminist chorus, is lucky enough to have a very talented composer in our midst, and our director Karen Weaver commissioned her to write a song specifically for the 30th anniversary of the group. It is a gorgeous ballad called I Have Learned(Not all roses are red).
These are some of the lyrics, in blue, written by Jan C. Snow:
“I have learned, in my years, sometimes we are given more than we can bear.
The trick is in knowing what to set down.
-it’s as much about balance as strength.”
And that’s just it, isn’t it? There are some things we just have to set down. I’ve had to set down any idea of a career for a while. My child has needed me home. I’ve set down worrying about what some relatives think of me. The burden was too heavy to carry. I’ve set down my old ideas about parenting, education, health care & medicine, forgiveness, friendship, marriage.
“The over and under and over and under of loss and love.”
So many times I’ve struggled against what is, wishing for things to be different. But while I’ve been home, I’ve had the most wonderful opportunity to delve into matters of the soul. While I must be available, I’m not needed every minute. This has given me time to read and write and look deep within myself at areas which needed to be healed, and are still healing. What once felt like a loss has actually been a gain.
“And I know a wish on a star, might not make it so, but it raises our gaze to the sky.”
Life is different than I ever expected it would be,and it continues to change all the time.
“I have learned, not all roses are red. Not all violets are blue. “
It is rich, and it is blessed. And some days it does feel like more than I can bear. Especially if I look out too far ahead.
And everyone has something. There is a dear sweet woman in the chorus whose husband recently became paralyzed in an accident. Maybe you are caring for aging parents. Perhaps you are going through a divorce. Perhaps you have health issues, or financial trouble, or abuse in your past. Maybe addiction weaves its way into your life. Maybe you are lonely. Our hearts are tender things.
“I have learned, not all roses are red. Not all violets are blue.”
“And yet, you see we bloom,
Sometimes it seems like more than we can handle.
It’s okay to set some things down.
Be gentle with yourself.