As I become older...and wiser (LOL) I have come to realize that our entire journey is pre-planned. It's all layed out in front of us, however it is not available for us to view...nor would we want to. However, lately I have had the time to ponder the idea that if we truly look at our suroundings and pay attention to the people, landscape, and events that are happening around us, then we might just catch a glimpse...just a brief view of what is to come.
I have many examples of how this has happened in my life. One that sticks out vividly was the week before Emma was born. It was the first week of August. The temperature had been over 100 degrees for weeks. It was miserable hot, and I was getting bigger by the day (I gained 30 pounds in the last 3 weeks....YIKES...toxemia). I had gone into Wal-Mart, my "usual" hangout...because it was so much cooler in there. However, on this particular day I just could not get comfortable...and I was EXTREMELY agitated. As I was walking into the store, our local NOWCAP (mentally disabled facility) van pulled up and as the people started getting out one of them ran up to me and asked, "Why do you have such a big tummy". Now, normally I would have much more patience, but on that day I was snippy with this man and said, "I am pregnant"...and continued on my mission. I did not have the time or the energy to deal with "those people". Upon checking out of Wal-Mart I got a cashier who we know. She has a son that has a disability, and I was not overly nice to her that day either. It was my world...all about me....and I was having a bad day, so why should I make anyone else's day good, right? Granted, this is VERY out of character for me...but I was miserable.
Looking back on that day, it was a huge sign for me. A sign of the struggles that I would have soon in my life. If only I could relive that day. If only I could show the peole that I encounter how I know that their feelings matter. If only everyone could step back and see "the entire picture" because no matter what your journey may be....we all have difficult times. After I began thinking about that day, I came to the realization that I had encountered many many people/families that had children with medical issues and disabilities throughout my entire pregnancy. Many more than I typically encounter. I believe this was my sign, and the way the families dealt with the circumstances was my life lesson and my "glimpse" of things to come...unbeknownst to me.
In my current situation (pregnant with my 2nd child), I try to be more aware of my surroundings. My "signs" have definitely been there throughout this pregnancy. People that I have known for quite some time and consider good friends have come out of the woodwork to tell me about a time in their life that I did not know about. One of my friends shared with me the first child that she had 40 years ago. The child was born with many complications and only lived for 5 hours. Now, you may ask HOW this helped me. However, my friend went on to tell me about her next 2 children. While she had been very scared throughout both of her preganancies, she went on to have 2 very healthy children. Amazing that I have known this woman for 10 years. I consider her I good friend. I've worked with her. However, she knew the perfect time to share this story with me. This was my sign.
There is another family in town. I do not know them well, but they have also been a beacon of hope for me. They have 2 grown boys. Their oldest has severe autism, and their 2nd child was the validictorian of his graduating class. Their love for both of their boys is visibly seen. They treat them both with the utmost respect, and they've raised them to be strong citizens in our community. Their younger boy is everywhere that I go lately. I see him in the store, at our school speaking to the older kids, I pass him on the street often. This is my sign that things are going to be OK.
Yesterday, was the most amazing sign! A mom was placed in my path to share her story with me. I cannot even begin to explain the feeling that I felt when hearing her story. It was like a neon flashing sign saying ALL IS WELL....BE HAPPY. I have felt so much lighter since that encounter, and I will be forever grateful to that mom.
Our universe is a mystery that none of us are meant to "figure out". We go into our future blind folded in so many ways. However, if we just become more keenly aware of our surrounding, I believe there are times that we can catch a glimpse, a simple sign, of what lies ahead. Becoming more acutely aware of those signs may just help us to endure those difficult times, and help us to celebrate the joyful times.