This charming little munchkin is my great niece. Her name is Lexi Grace. Lexi was born on July 29, 2009, at just 25 weeks gestation, weighing 1 lb and 5 ounces. She has several health challenges...some of which are related to her being a micro-preemie, and some of which are related to her having Dandy-Walker Syndrome. I'm writing about Lexi today, because I heard something in this week's sermon that made me think of her...
The pastor told of a family who had a baby with Down's Syndrome...the father said this about having a child with developmental challenges:
"When we found out we were pregnant, it was as if we were planning a trip. A journey to raise a new child in our family. When we learned of the Down's Syndrome, it was not as if the trip was cancelled, but the itinerary changed. We were planning a trip to London, but now the trip was to Paris instead. It's a very different trip than the one we originally planned for, but it's still a wonderful trip!"
My niece and her husband are fantastic parents...to both Lexi and her older sister Ava. I can't begin to understand what it's like to navigate the everchanging itinerary of parenting 2 young children, but their grace and humor and steadfastness as parents is heroic, in my mind.
For some of us, the "change in plans" has been less dramatic... Regardless of the details of our individual journeys, unexpected changes can be distressing. I found the analogy of a trip itinerary to be very helpful...
When we encounter unexpected changes...changes in our itinerary...changes in our families or close relationships...remember that even when the scenery changes...it's still a trip, and the trip can still be wonderful...even though different than we had originally envisioned.
I do not usually enjoy unexpected changes...change aggravates me, and feels like a loss of control. This sermon illustration was helpful to me, because I can apply it to any situation.
Even though I might not welcome change, this simple story will remind me that a new trip can be just as wonderful as the one I had originally planned, whether it's a trip around the world, or a trip to the grocery store.