We try really hard to make it to church each Sunday as a family. Often when we get there, we end up in various places and doing different things – I sing, Pete greets or teaches Sunday school, Sam and Zach go off to their classes. So much like the rest of our lives, we can be pulled in a million different directions.
We were sitting there on Sunday – one of the rare times when Pete and I were both in the service together at the same time. (Ok – truth be told, it was this morning. But I know me and chances are it’s going to be sometime much later than today that I actually get this written and posted, so I thought I’d hedge my bets and not say “today”.) Our pastor usually has pretty good messages to share. Admittedly, I’m not always in the frame of mind to hear and appreciate them.
Today (oops – I mean Sunday) was different.
This one was all about looking at life through eyes of faith rather than fear. Quite apropos, really. Because last week I’d run the gamut of questions about what we’ve been doing – for Sam, for Zach, for Ben, for ourselves. What do we try next? How do we know what’s best? How do we deal with the next “recommended” round of vaccinations for them all? How do I fight for what I believe is right in the face of so much opposition? What doctors to see? What conferences should we go to? How are we going to afford it? And with every question is no small amount of sheer terror that recovery won’t come. That we’ll pick the wrong supplement or therapy. That what’s next won’t help. That Sam will regress. And, you see, those fears have been a part of this journey all year – I think, in some cases, adding delay to decision making, and certainly to implementation.
But as I sat there listening, I knew that this had to be one of those times that I was being smacked with a message that I probably really needed to listen to. Faith, not fear. Faith that we’re making the right choices for Sam and the boys – and us. Faith that we’re not alone in all of this – that there is a plan, even if we don’t know what it is yet.
And so we make the choices, take the risks, not knowing exactly where they will take any of us. But knowing that if we don’t try, we don’t take the risks … well, that would be the greatest tragedy of all. We can only overcome the fear that could so easily suffocate us by having faith enough to know that Sam’s future is not yet written.
As I was writing this entry, I kept thinking back to something that I first heard many, many years ago. Back when I was 16 or 17, a high school friend shared a quote with me that I’ve seen a few times since then. It’s been attributed to any number of people including Leo Buscaglia, William Arthur Ward, and a host of others. And it fits so many aspects of my life …
To laugh is to risk appearing a fool.
To weep is to risk appearing sentimental.
To reach out for another is to risk involvement.
To love is to risk not being loved in return.
To live is to risk dying.
To believe is to risk despair.
To try is to risk failure.
But risks must be taken, because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing. He who risks nothing does nothing, has nothing, is nothing. He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he cannot learn, feel, change, grow, or love. Chained by his certitudes, he is a slave. Only the person who risks is truly free.