I’ve always intuitively understood that in order to gain wisdom, you needed to suffer.
So I’ve always understood that my easy, cushy life was a bit of a barrier in my vocation as a writer. I was raised by great parents, enjoy exceptionally good health, excelled in school, married a wonderful man, and am part of a loving church community. My firstborn is neurotypical, robustly healthy, and fiercely intelligent. I have not suffered a single major loss so far. What could I possibly know about Life? How could I ever have anything worthwhile to say to a hurting world if I didn’t have any wisdom to back it up?
Oh well, I thought. I’d rather be ignorant and happy and have nothing of value to say than genuinely wise. I would choose an easy life over my calling as a writer any day. I mean, if God wanted to just give me wisdom, Solomon-style, I’d gladly accept it; but otherwise: no thanks.
* * *
Then The Call came.
I had just sat down in front of the computer to answer emails and nurse twelve-day-old Felix. I had just gotten Lydia down for a nap. I texted Ben to tell him I was winning at parenting today.
Then the phone rang. A woman from the London Hospital told me that Felix had tested positive for a life-threatening disease called SCID in his newborn screening. We needed to come in the next day for further testing.
You know the rest of the story so far.
The next day as we drove up to London, our stomachs in knots, I said to Ben, “Well . . . one good thing that will come out of all this is it will make us better people.”
And I think it is making us better people.
We have learned so much about hospitals, health, and generosity. We have met amazing people and discovered just how wonderful our community is. We have learned about sacrifice and pain and risk.
These last few months have taught us to be more understanding, open-minded, and sensitive to other people’s suffering. More appreciative. Humbler. Less superficial.
I’d still take ignorance, health and happiness over wisdom any time. I’d give this all back — and all the lessons learned — in a heartbeat if I could. I guess that’s why we’re not given a choice.
But if this is what I’ve been given, I guess it’s my job to figure out how best to use it.
Maybe it will even make a writer out of me. Or at least get me going in the right direction.