Friday, December 19, 2008

Did You Know?

Do any of us?

I frequently check the blog of a friend who was my priest, co-worker, advisor and friend for many years. Jerry’s most recent post recalled a song that we often hear this time of year. “Mary Did You Know?” I’m not sure when it was written, but if you’d like a great rendition of it go to

No, I never knew I’d be recommending a gospel disco network, but I am. Surprise!

If you have time, stop right now and listen to it before you go any further.

I for one, know I never knew. I never knew that I’d sit in the audience with my heart thumping when the strains of the Overture to The Nutcaracker started waiting on my daughter to star as Clara. I never knew I’d be priviledged to witness my first grandchild’s birth and my daddy’s last breath in the same year. Both were miraculous experiences. I never imagined being the mother of three wonderful daughters and one very special son. I never knew the joy or the heartache that would be involved in each at one time or another.

For those of us who have endured God’s surprises in our lives, sometimes happily, sometimes with deep grief, we have discovered that we can really never know. We never know what’s coming next or in what order or time frame. I’ll admit, that’s a real frustration for those of us who really don’t like thrill rides or surprises, but it’s just the way things are.

I’ve known parents whose children were diagnosed with mental illness in their teens, parents of newborns with various disabilities, including some that were heart wrenchingly fatal. I’ve sat in the ICU with a mother whose boyfriend caused permanent brain damage to her toddler. I’ve commiserated with relatives about their typical children’s grades and social problems. I’ve also known parents of absolute super stars in one field or another, and they never knew what to expect next either. What they all eventually discovered was that somewhere within them was the strength to make it through whatever happens with the help of their friends and family and faith.

Some days I wish I didn’t know quite so much. I’m hoping that I’ll someday learn to like surprises and thrill rides more, because I know the next turn is just ahead and it can be exciting.


To read Jerry Harber’s blog go to

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