Saturday, September 10, 2016

Healing Rejection

Cleaning Danny's tomb to celebrate his third Heavenly birthday
This past Thursday our family celebrated our son Danny’s third Heavenly Birthday in the same way we have each year since his passing.  Getting up before the sun we prepared over 200 sandwiches, loaded 2 8 foot tables, 40 liters of lemonade, 400 evangelistic fliers, fifteen members of our family, one Grandpa and one Grandma, and two staff members in two vehicles and drove the two hours to Danny’s hospital, the National Pediatric Institute in Mexico City.

Preparing 200 sandwiches to give away

       Later that evening, as we reflected on the day, our ten-year-old daughter, Ana, made an interesting comment.
      “Mom,” she began, “the people today were afraid of being rejected.  So, when they would come up to the table, I would reach out with the sandwich towards them.  Then they would take the sandwich and say, ‘thank you’, and I would say, ‘No, THANK YOU!’.”
      A perspective packed with punch!

Here you can see Ana, in the pink sweater, reaching down to get more sandwiches out of the box to hand out.
      You see, not every 10-year- old would have the emotional perception to pick up on adults fearing rejection.  But Ana does.  Ana knows about rejection.  Ana still fears rejection. 

     Ana joined our family while she was still swimming in amniotic fluid.  I watched the ultrasound screen the day we discovered she was a girl!  I heard her first cries through the door of the hospital birthing room as her biological mother brought her into this world.  I breastfed her for the first time before she had even seen the sun rise twice.  Why would she know about rejection?
     Because she was rejected in the womb.
     Despite the temptation to choose another destiny, by the grace of God, Ana’s mother chose life.
     By the will of God, He chose us as her family.
     Now, by the love of God, Ana knows what acceptance is.
     But, the scar of rejection never goes away.  The wound heals, but the scar stays, just clear enough so that Ana can pour the soothing salve of love on another wound.

      Ruth, whom I carried in the womb, and who arrived in this world 9 months to the day before Ana, just assumes that everybody in the world feels loved and accepted!  After all, she always has been!  Ana just assumes that everybody in the world must at least have a small fear of being rejected.  After all, she always has!
      They both shared my bosom for nearly 2 years….the rocking chair….my nighttime hours….my heart, tears, laughter and corrections and now, 10 years of loving!  One still assumes acceptance and one still fears rejection.
     But, on Thursday, Ana, without even knowing it, took another step forward in her healing as she helped.
Ana, in the pink sweater on the right, helping to hand out sandwiches with our family.
     Ana perceived the fear.  But now, rather than succumbing to her own fear of rejection she could reach out.
     After all, stretching out a sandwich to a lonely and hungry family member of an ill child is sure to be met with acceptance!  It was the perfect exercise in risking rejection….almost no possibility of failure.  Assured success in reaching out!
      Hence, her resounding, “No, THANK YOU!”.  You see, the individual receiving the sandwich was truly grateful for the gesture and the gift.  But, Ana was truly grateful, too!  Without even knowing it, she was grateful for the opportunity to reach out and heal somebody else’s fear of rejection while, at the same time, healing her own!
      This little conversation began one of my own with the Lord.  Each time I visit Danny’s grave, remember his laugh, imagine his arms wrapped around my legs I sense the Lord whispering to my soul, “Thank you.”

      That is when I respond, “No, THANK YOU!”  Thank you for his life, thank you for his love and even, thank you for all you have done through his death.  You, Lord, were merciful to him and good to us!  We have known You better and now, each year, on Danny’s Heavenly birthday, many hear the Good News and have the opportunity to know True Life, Jesus Christ!  And, through sharing True Life, our children find fuller life… Ana!