Category Archives: acceptance

Compassion and Children

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Bob and Ina were a middle-aged childless couple living in our small Kentucky town after being missionaries in a land across a sea. They were building a home where they would spend their retirement. On the day we were to go over to ooh and ahh about the place, before we left, Bob grumpily told me to make sure I kept the kids’ grimy hands off their freshly painted walls.

Oh, I was indignant. AS IF. Anxious as I was back then about any signs of imperfection, I spent the entire walk-through tensely replacing curious childlike arms at sides lest they mar the precious walls.

Still striding purposefully forth as a young mum, I’d take walks with a baby strapped in the Bjorn carrier on my front, a toddler in the Tough Traveler backpack on my back, and a slightly larger toddler in the umbrella stroller. With all my energy consumed by carrying the weight of their world on my body, we walked and I taught them everything I could think of, everything we saw.

When my baby number four came along, I shifted from carrying the physical weight to carrying the emotional, spiritual, and intellectual weight. We had sent Valerie to kindergarten that fall because baby was due in late October and even I knew it might be a bit much to homeschool three (ages 5,4,and 3) with a baby on my hip.

Once kindergarten had concluded, I had my vim and vigor back and embarked on the formal process of educating our kids. Thinking that my kids were uniquely unique in their uniqueness and pretty much the top kids ever born on this small blue dot of God’s green earth, we spelled and sang and memorized and walked and drew and added and read our way through the years.

The bombshell of our later-in-life baby who brought Down syndrome into our world threw me for the looped-de-est loop that ever sideswiped a mama bear. And I reeled for years, trying to continue to carry the weight of the world on my shoulders.

Finally, finally, I learned to embrace the whole kit and kaboodle, the mess and inefficiency and snail-like pace of these bright, quick, beautiful, sentient beings.

Last night, as I set out to floss my teeth (take note, dentist person!), my special floss threaders for my lingual bar retainer were not where I had left them. Immediately, I suspected knew that Kepler was responsible for this reorganization, but he was asleep so no asky keppie tilly morning.

Years ago, I would have raged, furious that I couldn’t leave a small item out on the counter and know it would be there next time I needed it. By now, though, I simply put my Kepler thinking cap on, and remembered that he likes to put miscellaneous items down the laundry chute.

I checked. No flosser threaders, but I found two barrettes that had been next to the f.t.’s and grew suspicious. Little Keppie has occasionally flushed a thing or two before.

Throughout, I was calm, open to what lesson I might be having the chance to learn, and accepting the change in plans that is part and parcel of children in our lives. The compassion section of my heart has had room to grow as the controlling section has faded.

Although not everyone gets to or wants to say yes to the chaos of children, ours have been part of my journey to acceptance, which, by the way, I’m still on.

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Acceptance (A is for)

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You are cordially invited to join me this month as I explore the idea of Acceptance and its powerful effects on our lives.

What is Acceptance?

I’d heard of Lamaze childbirth classes, but I wanted “Husband-Coached Natural Childbirth.” I first learned about acceptance in our classes. We focused on learning to breathe into the pain, to accept it and ride through the wave of the contraction.

This method was in stark contrast to Lamaze, which taught you to focus on something else and get through the pain. One says yes to the pain of the contraction and relaxes through it. The other just hangs on, trying to get through it as soon as possible.

Although “accept” encompasses coming to believe that an opinion or explanation is valid or correct, for me it deals directly with validity, and not correctness. Acceptance is all about embracing the unwanted, allowing it to be just as it is, without my judgment, my approval or my consent.

I think acceptance is, at least in part, a developmental stage we reach at different times in life.

So What?

Do you have any challenges in your life? I think most of us do. And you may have noticed how little control we actually have over the how and when and what. However, we do have at least some control over how we respond to the challenges. Acceptance is a key part of successfully navigating the challenges, and seeing them as opportunities.

Now What?

Acceptance takes intention and persistence and courage and all the good stuff inside me. Acceptance comes through love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control. It’s a journey, not a destination. It’s an ongoing decision for us humans.

To paraphrase an old song; What the World Needs Now is Acceptance, Sweet Acceptance.

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The theme of my blogs for the Blogging A to Z challenge this month is Acceptance, following the  reflection practice of asking these three questions: What?  So What? Now What? At least, unless I change my mind, which I did about tomorrow’s post. 

The Serenity Prayer

The Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.

— Reinhold Niebuhr

calm … calmness … tranquility … peace … composure

These are synonyms for serenity. Some days are frenetic … fast and uncontrolled in a rather wild and uncontrolled way. Today … hailstones pounding this morning … a little boy, feverish with a hurting belly … a BIG grocery shopping trip, after a … small, emergency grocery trip for applesauce and crackers for the little guy with the sore tummy … a surprising phone call … a mid-afternoon trip to the airport (about 90 minute round-trip) … kinda frenetic.

So, all I have to share tonight is this beautiful prayer, which says it so well … what belongs to me, and what belongs to others, and the wisdom of knowing and accepting which is which.

Peace to you, friends.