Friday, September 2, 2011

lessons in submission

September 1st, is a big day in Ukraine. Since the days of the USSR it was christened Knowledge day. It is the official day first day of school for all of Ukraine, and actually all of the former Soviet Union. Complete with parades, concerts and flowers it is a big day for all students but especially for first graders and seniors. All parents and pupils gather in the school courtyard for a special ceremony called "the first bell". With William starting school this year, it was supposed to be a special day for us.
This day was really important for me, I've been nervous about Will starting school, and have been battling back to school jitters all month. I had postponed all plans and all ministry issues so that our entire family would be at this ceremony on Sept. 1. I had gotten in my mind that if William didn't make it to this first day of school thing his entire educational career would be doomed. I don't usually struggle a lot with trusting in the Lord. I have tons of other issues, but trust isn't really one of them. I probably lean too much toward the providence camp, just sort of coasting through life on "the Lord's will".  But this new chapter in our life has really brought up some issue of trust. I occured to me about a week ago that I was putting too much emphasis on this school thing, and seeking forgiveness, I gave it over to the Lord once and for all (or so I thought). And then came to the real test of faith.
For the past few months we have been preparing William for a minor operation. Nothing serious just the removal of his adenoids. We thought we would do it on his fall break, so as not to  miss school. Then on Monday we got a phone call that his surgery had been bumped up to Augustt 31. Yes, August 31, as in the day before September 1, as in after all my fretting and postponing plans we would still be missing  THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL.
I had already given this school thing over to the Lord, so I couldn't very well take it back again. But here we were facing two things that were really hard for me; missing the first day of school and infamous Ukrainian hospitals.  I swallowed hard, tried not to pout, packed our bags and headed for the hospital.
In my egocentrical heart, I comforted myself by saying, "the Lord may have someone here I need to witness to"
I'll save the all the shocking details of staying in a state hospital  crippled by socialized medicine for another post. In short, we were placed in a tiny room with another family preparing for the same operation. The boy, Misha, was a little bit younger than William but a good five inches taller. He was there with his grandmother and after a few minutes I realized that Misha was very behind developmentaly. As we waited anxiously for our little ones to return from the operation room, Misha's grandmother shared their story. Misha was born a month early, with lots of complication including fluid on this brain. Before he had turned a year old his mother had already filed for divorce and signed away all parental rights for Misha. At six, Misha was still unable to make complete sentences or dress himself. He still wore diapers. Once the boys were brought in, we didn't have much time to talk. But I did have time to observe. I watched Misha's loving grandmother, patiently care for this child, that was given to her in her old age, this grandson that would always be a little boy. I had been moping about everything not being just right for the first day of school, pouting about missing William's big day. William would be in school by Monday, but not Misha. He would always be by his grandmothers side, for as long as she had strength and helath to care for him.She didn't pout or feel sorry for herself or her lot in life. She handle her task without a trace of self pity or irritation. Here before me was a living example of Christ's humility and submission in pracitical human form.
The Lord hadn't sent us to the hospital for me to witness, but to be witnessed to. He wanted to teach me about true submission and awaken me to how far I still have to go.