My friend Susan Hollern called me today. It was great to hear from her – out of the blue – just calling to say hello and to visit via phone. She always has some words of faith to share, and for that I am grateful. As parents, we all feel connected, I believe, by our common experiences, heartaches and joys. It was a simple moment, but it was a great moment with her, because she left me with the reminder that all of our experiences, good or bad, are actually teaching moments. Our loves, our tears, our life journeys are all lessons in disguise that shape us and grow us… our entire lives. Our lessons are not always welcomed, but they come nonetheless. My simple moment with Susan became my great moment for the day and it jogged my memory of something from my voluminous and old stack of ramblings. Thank you, Susan, for your tangible intangible today. God must have whispered in your ear before you whispered in mine.
Great Moments are the Tangible Intangibles….
A great moment in someone’s life is like a gift. Sometimes, it is something that is anticipated, worked for, waited for – that finally arrives. It’s celebrated, enjoyed in the company of others, savored, joyously shared, remembered always, kept on the shelf in our minds for times when we can take it down and dust it off, pass it around and re-experience the moment – the gift – again and again. History is filled with these kinds of great moments…moments we can definitely pinpoint and celebrate and wrap up in ribbons. Great moments are the tangible intangibles:
-Rosa Parks refusing to stand on a bus
-Oskar Schindler creating his list
-Lighting the torch in New York Harbor
-Perceiving an atom as energy or stem cells as life, even in the presence of doubt
We don’t always anticipate our great moments coming. They aren’t necessarily wrapped very neatly. Sometimes they present themselves when least expected and sometimes they may not appear as the gifts they are. The “return-to-sender” option may seem the most viable, at first glance, when the moments are challenging…
But our greatest challenges can become our greatest moments. Our challenges can be great gifts, in disguise, if we face them and rise to them. My fellow autism warrior moms – Michelle Guppy, Carol Fruscella, Ricci King, Kathy Voltz and so many others – represent the finest examples of strength in this area. Some of the most tawdry and unseemly situations can teach patience and compassion. As parents, these can be painful and even heartbreaking. Some moments can teach about the value of tolerance or, conversely, the abundance of intolerance that exists among others. Still, some moments lead us to hope and faith and empowerment when things seem bleak. We find the strength to carry on and to carry others, as well. Through pain, we can find strength. Everything in life has a season and a purpose; in mostly all people, things and events there is some goodness to find. My friend, Colleen Marquez had a journey in infertility that ultimately resulted in the joy of adoption and a life dedicated to helping other parents adopt children. Sometimes, our moments of greatness come from simply standing up to the self-centeredness, narrowness, dishonesty or evil of either those close to us or those who are perfect strangers – life altering, great moments that ultimately become the greatest gifts of all. They are the tangible intangibles that intimately teach us or remind us what we stand for, who we are, and of what we are made.