I can't believe that it has been so long, but this past weekend was my 10 year college reunion at homecoming. Mr. W was away on business and my college roommate was unable to attend having recently had surgery. So, despite the fact that I was visiting my parents less than a mile from campus, I chose not to go. I wasn't sure who would be there, if I would remember them or if any of the people who attended would be people that I would want to spend any time with.
I'm actually happy with the decision as attendance was low, it was extremely cold, and, frankly, I just don't enjoy watching football. Instead, the day of the game and my class' reunion dinner, I spent time with my parents and grandparents - something that I am now and will always be happier for having done.
By mid-day Sunday, most of the alumni had left town. Some relatives from out of town came to visit for the afternoon and in the evening, we all made our way to my parents' restaurant for dinner.
As I looked out of the kitchen, I saw a friend that I hadn't known would be in town for homecoming, nor would I have expected that he would still be there. He and I ended up having an incredibly long conversation, one that thoroughly blew my mind. He was still in town because he wanted to attend chapel on Monday morning and to take some photographs of campus in the morning light.
He talked to me about how God is moving in his life, his relationship with Christ and what he feels he is being called to do. We discussed what it is to have a calling, to know what that is. And, remarkably, I realized something that I just can't believe hasn't been clear to me before now.
Since the lowercase was born, I've spent a lot of time volunteering with the March of Dimes. I've had my name on a list at our NICU to talk to parents whose children have been diagnosed with congenital diaphragmatic hernia
(a condition that I survived 32 years ago and that is still largely considered a death sentence and one that is commonly cause for a decision to terminate the pregnancy). I've reached out to friends and strangers who have had to deal with premature births on CDH diagnoses. I've stayed with friends in the hospital during their births, praying the entire time they were in the operating room, sat with them as they waited to be allowed into the NICU and went in with them on their first trips in to see their children. I've spent hours e-mailing and talking on the phone with them.
And yet I've never, not even once, wanted to do any of it. I would have nightmares each time I visited the hospital. I relived every terrifying moment of my time in the NICU with the lowercase -- all the scares, all the middle of the night frantic trips across town to the hospital for just one more look at the frail little boy that I loved so much. In my dreams, sometimes the outcomes weren't what they had been in reality. I've cried each and every time that I've left the hospital parking garage, hung up the phone, or clicked send on an email.
But in all of that, I have not once had a choice as to whether or not I would answer that email, pick up the phone, or drive to the hospital (whether it was at 3am or 1pm). I did it because those parents needed me. I continue to do it because I know that it's something that I would have wanted myself nearly 4 years ago.
My talk with my friend made me realize that, for right now, this is what God is calling me to do. I'd always thought that a calling would involve something that would make me happy, something that I would enjoy doing. At the very least, I thought it would be something that didn't involve such emotional pain. I never expected it to be this way - to be so gut wrenching at times that Mr. W asks me why I put myself through it.
Yet each and every time I do one of these things, I am reminded of what a miracle each of these children is. I remember that my lowercase, who is so wonderfully, frustratingly three (for another week and a half!), has overcome so much in such a short time. And I vow each time to be the best mother to him that I can possibly be, to raise him well, and to prepare him for whatever it is that God has planned for his life.