The other week my husband and I were out in the garden custom designing a cute little fence for our fresh peas to grow along. Okay.. not really. We were grinding down old cattle panels to slap together so our
weeds peas wouldn't fall over. But anyways... I was in charge of singling the fencing posts out of the treasure scrap pile down by the barn that would be used and then hauling them up to the garden. Of course I wanted the strong, sturdy looking ones (those weeds looked pretty menacing) and preferable kinda-sorta-straight, so the fence stood up a little better.
I was carefully selecting the chosen fence posts, stacking them in a nice, neat little pile, when I suddenly realized that I was subconsciously avoiding the posts with little ribs in them. The best I can explain them is they looked like a screw, with all the little spirals going down the entire length. When I looked at the posts I had, they were all smooth and uniform. They were the same. The others were.. they were.. different.
I tried to push the thought out of my mind. "It's fine," I told myself as I started toward the garden, my tidy little stack of uniform posts in tow, now painfully aware that I was intentionally ignoring the fence posts that were different. I was very mindfully and purposefully avoiding them. I hauled a load up to the garden, but as much as I tried, I just couldn't get my very own, very hypocritical thoughts out of my head.
You see, my own daughter is what some might call "different." She has a rare genetic condition called Cornelia De Lange Syndrome (CdLS), which affects her growth and development. We don't know exactly what the future holds for her, but we are facing the very real possibility that it will be "different" that what we once dreamed.
And we're okay with that.
I thought about her and the type of world I want her to grow up in, yet I still tried to rationalize it away..
they're just fence posts.. right???
They're not people. They don't have feelings. No one is going to know that I left the ribbed ones down by the barn and used only the standard, select "chosen ones" for my garden. Just because I don't want my fence posts to look different doesn't mean I'm not okay with my daughter being different...
As I trudged slowly down to the barn for more posts, I knew what I had to do. I carefully and deliberately picked out a beautiful, unique, ribbed, different fence post and proudly carried it to the garden. It might be silly, but I felt a little bit of redemption pounding it into the ground, attaching it to the fence, and watching it stand tall and straight, doing the job it was clearly meant to do.
Is it just me or does that one in the middle stand just a little taller?
I know my one little fence post in my own little garden doesn't make much of a difference. I know it isn't going to change the world. But to me, it represents a new way of thinking. That different is not a bad thing. That it's okay. That we were never meant to all be the same. That just because something (or someone) is a little different, doesn't mean they can't stand up straight and tall and shine for the world to see
(or hold up rusty old cattle panels for that matter..)
At the risk of losing readers by admitting my very cheesy movie preferences.. one of my favorite movie lines is from 'What a Girl Wants'..
"Why are you trying so hard to fit in when you were meant to stand out?"
My daughter's life may be different than what we once anticipated, our dreams for her may be different, but she is still a beautiful and unique child of God, created perfectly AND wonderfully different in His eyes.