God Appears in Mysterious Ways

Have you ever just felt down? You don't know which way to turn and nothing seems to be right. I struggle with this often. Lately, I've been struggling on how to be the best mother to my Avery. A lot of days I feel like I'm falling short because my patience have run out at the end of the day, I'm tired because he didn't sleep the night before, or many days include multiple tantrums. I beg God to give me more patience.

I received an e-mail this morning that I'd like to share with you all, especially mothers of special needs children. I feel like it came at exactly the right time. God certainly appears in mysterious ways.

Most women become mothers by accident, some by choice, a few by social pressures and a couple by habit.

This year, nearly 100,000 women will become mothers of handicapped children. Did you ever wonder how these mothers of handicapped children are chosen?

Somehow I visualize God hovering over Earth selecting His instruments for propagation with great care and deliberation. As He observes, He instructs His angels to make notes in a giant ledger.

“Armstrong, Beth: son: patron saint…give her Gerard. He’s used to profanity”

Finally he passes a name to an angel and smiles. “Give her a blind child.”

The angel is curious. “Why this one, God? She’s so happy.”

“Exactly.” says God. “Could I give a child with a handicap to a mother who does not know laughter? That would be cruel.”

“But has she patience?” asks the angel.

“I don’t want her to have too much patience, or she will drown in a sea of self-pity and despair. Once the shock and resentment wear off, she’ll handle it.”

“But Lord, I don’t think she even believes in you.”

God smiles. “No matter. I can fix that. This one is perfect. She has just enough selfishness.”

The angel gasps. “Selfishness? Is that a virtue?”

God nods. “If she can’t separate herself from the child occasionally, she’ll never survive. Yes, here is a woman whom I will bless with the child less than perfect. She doesn’t realize it yet, but she is to be envied.

She will never take for granted a spoken word. She will never consider a step ordinary. When her child says ‘Momma’ for the first time, she will be present at a miracle and know it! When she describes a tree or a sunset to her blind child, she will see it as few people ever see my creations.

“I will permit her to see clearly the things I see – ignorance, cruelty, prejudice – and allow her to rise above them. She will never be alone. I will be at her side every minute of every day of her life, because she is doing my work as surely as she is here by my side.”

“And what about her patron saint?” asks the angel, pen poised in midair.

God smiles. “A mirror will suffice.”

Erma Bombeck

~ Erma Bombeck published this column on May 11, 1980.

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