Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Some things come at just the right time

I am involved in a book club at my church. We have been meeting since June and the women in that group have become a big part of my life. Outside of book club we send each other e-mails, pass along prayer requests and "follow" each other's blogs. We are a community and a safe place for each other. We are currently reading the book "The Faith Club" which is about three women, a Muslim, a Christian and a Jew, who came together to write a children's book and the challenges they faced in overcoming their stereotypes and their own struggles with their faith.

We meet on Tuesday nights and I was reading the last chapter for this week and a story that Priscilla, the Jewish woman, included hit a note with me. Here it is:

I loved best what he called "The Paper Bag Story," which addressed the challenges people face in life, challenges he himself faced.

"Imagine this," he used to say to us. "Take your problems, all of them, from the tiniest, annoying concerns to the most horrific, difficult challenges, and put all those problems into a brown paper bag." He'd pause. "Then imagine if everyone else in the world took all of their problems and put them into their own paper bags. Think of how many bags there would be, all piled up into one gigantic mountain of brown paper!" The image was vivid to me.

"If you were told that you could pick any bag of problems and take it home with you, do you think you'd want someone else's problems?" my father would ask. "I don't think so. You'd be scampering to find your own bag in that mountain of brown paper."

I think that this is a great perspective for everyone. I often times tell people and Jake and I say it quite a bit, that we are thankful for all of our children, for the challenges of having twins, one with a medical issue and where all of this has brought us in this life. There is no way we would trade our life. There is no way we would ask for anything different. If things were different, our life would not be what it is, we would not be who we are and our children would not be who they are. I can't imagine Emmy without her yelling, spit-fire personality, and I don't know if that comes from yelling at doctors and nurses or it just is who she is, but I wouldn't want to find out either. I can't imagine Mari without her flair for drama. I can't imagine Peder without his sweet soul handing out hugs and kisses and telling us that he's worried about Emmy in the hospital. All of these things may not have developed if things didn't happen the way they did.

So today I choose my brown paper bag of problems, and I would choose it any time, any place without pause, because with that brown paper bag of fears, stressors and worries come my beautiful children and their giggles, kisses and sweet smiles.


Beth said...

Melissa...I so remember that part... and thought.."gosh...quit your complainin'" What a great testimony you have written! I am excited about our discussion tonight!

Carol E. said...

This is wonderful and brought me to tears. You are a jewel!

Carol E. said...

Me again. Just wanted to tell you that my daughter had surgery when she was 13 months old. She had a lump in her neck, and they didn't know what it was... they brought in the oncologist and other specialists. We were so frightened! It turned out to be nothing major (hooray!) but we did have some scary days. So... i remember how that feels and am thinking of you a lot this week. Hugs.