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15
Apr
2013

Reality Check

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Reality Check, Family Matters Blog, Dr. Tim Kimmel, Cindi Ferrini

My mother-in-law needed heart surgery. We went together to the doctor to make sure all her questions were answered. We wanted to know why she needed the surgery and how it would affect her afterwards. We wanted Mom to know exactly what to expect from start to finish. The doctor described everything to her and said, “When you wake up, you’ll feel like a truck hit you, but each day you’ll do better and better and heal well.” After surgery, I asked mom how she felt and she replied, “The doctor said I’d wake up and feel like I was hit by a truck. That’s true, I do, but we failed to ask what size truck it would be!”

That is reality! Reality is sometimes a shock.

Sometimes we just don’t know what hit us, and we can’t anticipate what the outcome will be when we don’t know what is then ahead of us. In her case, healing took time, but eventually she experienced better health and better quality of life.

When caring for someone with special needs, operations and medications will often improve health or quality of life but not cure the individual or change the course of that person’s life to make her or him what we’d call “normal.” The reality in this case is summarized in this question: Will we be able to run the race set before us or crumble under the weight of this responsibility for a lifetime?

It doesn’t matter who we are—rich or poor, healthy or unhealthy, good-looking or not, well-dressed or shabby, happy or sad, motivated or unmotivated, talented or untalented. When God wants to do something in and through our life, look out! That’s when reality hits!

As a mom, the reality for me is the day-to-day grind of life and the realization that we have no con­trol over it, and that nothing will ever be the same. That part of life we didn’t see coming our way. That part of life, when it hits, we wish hadn’t—if we’re truly honest. If we are open to learning, it’s in that reality where God will give us new vision – a bigger picture as we walk through the tests and the storms that challenge us. Until we are willing to become active learning partic­ipants, we flounder, trying to figure out what’s going on.

It was the reality of caring for our son, and the knowledge that doing so would last a lifetime—either his or ours! Our son has learned and grown, but the pace was so slow that we often wondered if anything new was taking place. Reality is never what we expect. No matter what the reality looks like, it is likely a surprise. And what one of us would have chosen it?

What I’ve learned with each new reality, is that listening to God, my heart, and taking time to learn what will be needed, will eventually help me sort things out. I’ll learn, I’ll grow, and somewhere down the road of this journey, I’ll have a new level of understanding of life because I’ve embraced my new reality. Is it easy? Never. Is it worth it? Always! That’s reality!

 

 

Joe and Cindi Ferrini

Joe and Cindi have been married since 1979, live in Cleveland, OH, have 3 grown children (one with special needs), grandchildren, and enjoy speaking and writing together on topics related to marriage and family (FAMILYLIFE’S “WEEKEND TO REMEMBER Get-A-Ways” as well as for organizations pertaining to special needs), leadership, and time/life management. Joe has practiced dentistry since 1978; Cindi enjoys writing (books, blogs, articles, etc.), speaking, radio, and social media. Together they have written articles and blogs for Focus on the Family, FamilyLife, http://specialneedsparenting.net and here at FamilyMatters, and authored UNEXPECTED JOURNEY: When Special Needs Change our Course. They’d love to connect with you at: www.joeferrini.com or www.cindiferrini.com

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