It's not hard to look around and see that bad things happen to good people. Watch the news, browse the Internet, or hear stories from friends, and that fact is abundantly clear. It may seem easy to assume that some people had it coming to them, be it karma or bad planning/prevention, but I think that's probably a little too simplistic. I mean, we've all had lapses, but I'd think most of the time we all come out scot-free and the lingering problems are minimal. Think about it...that time you left the door open all night, or drove home from the bar a bit too tipsy, left your kid alone a second too long, or even went too far with a romantic interest who could have been an STD nightmare. We've all had moments where we look back and go, "Oh yeah, that could have been bad..." and thank God we made it out unscathed. Logic would dictate that at some point all of those free passes would catch up with us, and we, too, would be among the unlucky for a change.
Having kids can amplify this issue immensely, since it's not only you that you're concerned with, but your kids as well...and in most cases, a significant other, too. The harming of any of those elements impacts so much that it's hard not to be a little worried sometimes, or at least feel a small knot in your stomach every time you hear about some sort of terrible situation that impacted an ordinary family just like yours. Perhaps I make matters worse, as I follow quite a few blogs. Most of the ones I follow are pretty lighthearted takes on parenthood, but periodically they'll delve into a tough topic, either from their own experience or to share a fellow blogger/friend's story. I've read about everything from a couple badly burned in a small plane crash, to a young couple who both discovered they were dying of cancer, to a guy who was widowed the day after his daughter was born, to autism, miscarriage, and infertility. Maybe this is bad, but I try to stay away from the depressing ones. I mean, I worry about enough stuff without adding things like that to the mix, so I consider it self-preservation. However I do realize that I am truly blessed to be able to click away from the page and not have that as my full-time reality. In some cases it's interesting to learn about people in different, difficult situations, and even to know that some form of normal life is possible. Still, it certainly makes you grateful for normalcy in your own life.
This is going to sound like a laughable concern amongst the issues I mentioned above, but you know, I just don't want my entire world to be defined by one issue or one event. Some bloggers get pigeonholed into a role--the autism blogger, the burn victim, the cancer patient--and I assume those roles go beyond the blogosphere as well, into their daily life and interactions with real people. It's got to be a little annoying at times to always be introduced in a certain manner, or immediately have to explain yourself to someone. I was reading one blog yesterday recounting trick-or-treating with a kid with a peanut allergy. He'd go up to the door and immediately after "trick-or-treat", he'd mention his allergy. Definitely important, but what a bummer, huh? It has to be so hard when something like that shapes your entire world--not just impacting holidays, but every trip to the grocery store, every meal at a restaurant, every day you send your kid to a peanut-infested school. Nearly everything is tinged with fear. I can't even fathom how frustrating, difficult and generally annoying that has to be.
I know how fortunate we are, and I like that I'm free to talk about anything on this blog. Yes, Jacob's behavior probably ranks up there in topics, but I don't HAVE to talk about it. But when something impacts your life so greatly, inevitably it's going to come up. And sometimes it's going to come up a lot. And that has to be tough, both when it comes to blogging and real life. Do you need to blog about a topic because it's expected or therapeutic, or do you purposely do other things just to feel normal and not get repetitive? I just know I'd resent having a "thing". Kudos to the people who take their "thing" and run with it, who raise awareness and are an advocate for their cause. I just don't want a single element of life to be one that defines our existence. I know none of those people did either, but just saying...
So, anyway, back to the original question I posed, "Why not us?" There have been so many times where I've felt like I've had a charmed life. Things have just worked out better than I imagined so many times. All of the worrying turns out to be for naught. But as I see all the things other people go through, I wonder if at some point it'll be us. There's no reason to assume something horrible will happen, but there's no reason to assume that we're immune, either. Perhaps I'm in this mode because we're still in a holding pattern for baby #2 and I'm wondering if we're going to run into infertility issues. A couple bloggersish now), and will his behavior ever get better? Will things stay good with our marriage, jobs, and extended family? Will I be stuck without a sense of smell forever, and might it have dire consequences someday?
As you can see, there's no shortage of worries that pass through my mind. While I trust God to take care of us in any circumstance, I'm increasingly aware of the fact that we only have one life to live and certain things can truly make or break it. One moment can impact things forever, and that's just a little intimidating. There's a song by a Christian artist named Natalie Grant called "Held", and the premise of the song is that, contrary to popular (mostly secular) belief, God never promised to spare His people pain. But instead His promise was, "when everything fell, we'd be held." While I never want to go through that kind of pain, or even frustration that pales in comparison, it's good to know that one way or another, we'll always be held. And sometimes that's all I have to hold on to.