Friday, April 9, 2010

1,000 Elephants - Get Moving, Herd!


Before I do anything else today, I want to share a story with you, because it might help reduce the number of Christina's elephants. Christina is a former student of mine who is now married and the mother of a beautiful little boy named Quentin. At the end of March, Quentin was seriously injured, allegedly by his caregiver, a woman that Christina and her husband, Grant, had interviewed and selected as the person to care for their son while they worked.

I learned of the horror they have been living early on – courtesy of another former student and through the wonder of Facebook. A news report of what happened can be read here. Baby Quentin's Story

I have appreciated the opportunity to attempt to be a source of support through Quentin's CarePages. Yet, I know too well that emotional support - no matter how many people try to provide it - can feel elusive.

Those of you who have read Involuntary Joy know why this story hits home for me, for our family. Like Christina and Grant, Mark and I could not fathom how an adult - willingly or negligently - could harm or endanger a child. More than that - for me - I wrestled with the injustice of a world that would add such an offense to the life of a child already born with multiple, major birth defects.

Christina's CarePages post this morning spoke of 1,000 elephants standing on her heart:

My heart hurts tonight…It feels like there are a 1,000 elephants standing on top of it...That morning I packed him his favorite, bananas, for his morning feeding. I wanted him to have something special since I wasn’t going to be with him. I have no idea what happened in those few hours BUT IT HURTS! I know I dropped him off smiley, loving, and full of life and I picked him up so distant, sick and lifeless. He was not at all my baby. It hurts me so much to think what he must have gone through those few hours without me. I wonder so many things. The hurt is like NOTHING I have ever felt before…a hurt that I do not understand!


I think Christina chose her analogy well, for elephants are also used to describe things we don't want to talk about or things we avoid talking about. When there is an elephant in a room, we can avoid feeling vulnerable, for elephants make it difficult to get a good look at what is really going on. And so, sometimes, we leave the elephants in the room.

That's not my nature; I don't accommodate elephants.

I find it difficult to avoid talking about things that cause pain or inflict an injustice. Injustice makes me angry. I don't like being angry so I try to channel my energy into aiding understanding. It's how I've been coping with the wonder of my life these past, nearly 19 years – shoving elephants out of the way and getting conversations started. "Hey. Let's talk about it."

The rest of Christina's entry today describes her desire to make a difference by "talking about it." She wants to tell her family's story to the greatest degree possible in an attempt to spare someone else. I identify with her desire. It's probably why I wrote Involuntary Joy and then began to blog shortly after. I wanted to share what happened to us, hoping our experiences could help others in some way.

And so I want to invite you to help me, help Christina. Let's help her move some elephants. Will you read her story and then talk about it with someone who could benefit from hearing it? Will you post a link to my blog so that others can discover her story, my story, and maybe feel less alone?

People need to be reminded that children are vulnerable.

People need to be reminded that child care is a vital need.

People need to be reminded that catastrophic illness or injury can cause a health care crisis for a family that will not go away quickly or easily. In fact, it could last the lifetime of that child - that family.

Most of all people need to know they are not alone.

God is with them - with us - yes. But it helps knowing that God has hands, arms, legs, ears, a face - you name it - as we grapple with earthly things that don't make sense. During the kind of times that Quentin, Christina and Grant are going through, families need to see God at work through you. You help us keep our hope alive and our faith strong enough to meet the challenges of each new day.

So, are you with me? Let's start moving some elephants off Christina's heart. Thanks!

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