Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Free Agency

Dear Life,

When you think of free agency, what comes to mind?
As a Latter Day Saint, we have been taught this principle:

Agency, or the ability to choose, is one of God’s greatest gifts to His children.
Our eternal progression depends on how we use this gift. 
We must choose whether to follow Jesus Christ or follow Satan.

We teach our children right from wrong daily. 
Always tell the truth, don't steal, be kind, don't pull your sister's hair, etc. 
Our children learn there are consequences if they do not make good choices. 
Don't do your homework, you will get a bad grade and probably lose screen time. 
Give mom sass when asked to do something and you will probably gain extra chores. 

But we don't always teach our kids how to deal with the after effects of someone else's bad choice if it affects them directly. 
If someone drives under the influence and crashes into you, you have to deal with that, but it can make you angry. 
It wasn't your choice that put you there. 

I have been thinking a lot about my son, and the suffering he has faced for years because of the choices of another. 
How do we deal with this?
How do I teach him forgiveness, to move forward, when I am angry?
I mean I'm really angry. 
This person robbed my son of 4  years of his life. 
My boy's life will be altered forever. 
All because of someone else's agency. 

Then I think about God. 
He gave us the gift of agency. 
He probably wishes he could tap us on the shoulder when we are about to do something wrong and say " are you sure you want to do that?"
He loves us, and wants us to be happy. 
So why do bad things happen. 
Why does my son have to suffer. 
All I can think of is what I have been taught. 
As we teach our family the principles of the gospel, we can fall back on them to deal with difficult challenges. 
We can pray, often, read the words written in the scriptures, we can read talks from our leaders, we can forgive. 
We can love each other. 
And we can fight battles together. 

I wish my son never walked home that day long ago. 
I wish he would have been receptive to getting help earlier. 
All we can do now is be there for him, and rely on our God, and find comfort in His loving arms. 
We can learn to forgive, so that our son can forgive. 
We can take this awful experience and grow, get stronger, and become more refined. 

As victims, if we are faithful, we can take great comfort in knowing that God will compensate us for every injustice we experience. Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin stated: “The Lord compensates the faithful for every loss. … Every tear today will eventually be returned a hundredfold with tears of rejoicing and gratitude.”

(The Healing Ointment of Forgiveness
By Elder Kevin R. Duncan
Of the Seventy
April 2016 Conference)

What would I say

Dear Life,

What would I say to the person that destroyed who my son used to be with one small act of violence?
Did you think about what you were doing that day 4 1/2 years ago?
How did you choose my son?
As you live your life, possibly still hurting others, my son still daily faces trauma because of you.
You are the reason he feels worthless.
You are the reason he feels like he is undeserving.
You are the reason 4 years of his life are gone. 
You are the reason he struggles every day to go to school,
To play basketball, to do anything every other kid can just do. 
You are the reason he doesn't believe in himself. 
I hate you. 

What would I say to my son?
You are a warrior. 
You are fighting a battle that seems unwinnable. 
Every day you conquer it a little more. 
You may think that you will never get better. 
To that I say look at you a year ago. 
Two years ago. 
You are struggling right now but you will get through it. 
Although I wish I could make it all go away, I can't. 
Instead I will stand by you, hold your hand, lift you up, wipe your tears. 
You are so much better than that person that hurt you. 
Your life matters. 
You are worth the battle. 

I love you. 

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Spina Bifida Strong

Dear Life,

Many of you know Kumaka's story.  
We were told at 19 weeks of pregnancy that we would have a child with multiple severe birth defects.
Spina Bifida.
Bilateral Club feet.
We were told his quality of life would be non existant.
We were told to terminate our pregnancy.

 We were never told what our son could do.
We were never given any hope.
We were scared, but we forged ahead.

The first three years were rough, Kumaka had multiple surgeries and hospitalizations.

And then he found Wheelz.
And watched backflips in wheelchairs every day.
When Wheelz came to visit him after the worst surgery he had, the beginning of a transition happened.

Next he met Otter, and was introduced to Box Wheelchairs.

When he received his first Box Wheelchair, his world was rocked!
He became so independent, so athletic, and so CRAZY!

Years later, he is dropping in 9 foot bowls at the skate park, surfing, playing wheelchair basketball, even trying monoskiing!  Nothing stops him, he tries everything!

He is not weak, he does not have a poor quality of life!
He is Spina Bifida Strong!