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« Women, we can still learn from men | Main | Great Effects by Weak Means »

If there is a mercy in this . . .

. . . and there is always mercy, of course.

I have been on crutches for four weeks now, and I can't say it's one of the more enjoyable experiences I've had. I have pretty bad tendonitis in my forearms, and on Thursday, in order to avoid an exuberant puppy, I fell off a chair, which didn't help my sore forearms any. I couldn't help but think that God is merciful in that this didn't happen when I had small children. I was chatting with my mother last week, and I mentioned to her that in all likelihood, somewhere out there, a young mother has a broken ankle. I may have to keep a puppy under control while on crutches, but at least it's not a child to care for. That would be a whole 'nother situation.

When I began my seminary classes in combination with a new puppy, I knew it would be work. Puppies are always work. But dogs are a joy, and the work is worth it. Puppies calm down eventually. That said, I have had to confine work to times when he is asleep. When the weather was warm, I did a lot of work outside on the deck, and I was thankful for that. Now that I'm unable to do anything else but sit, I still can't do a lot of work when puppy is awake. A quiet puppy can mean trouble, and I've had to make feeble attempts to retrieve things that are better kept out of his mouth; like socks, kleenexes, and this morning, that little package of raccoon scat he felt he needed to bring in the house. Thankfully, my husband was here for that one.

Still, I'm plodding along, thankfully. I'm doing well, and I'm enjoying the work. But it reminds me again of how difficult this would have been with small children. I can put my puppy in a crate for an hour if I need to. One cannot do that with children. Children are infinitely more work than dogs. I could not have managed seminary and children. And I am thankful I was not tempted to try.

Perhaps it is the generation I am from, but I grew up accepting limitations (this is a topic I'm going to re-visit on Friday at Out of the Ordinary for anyone who wants to avoid Black Friday advertising aggression). I grew up understanding that one choice often meant leaving another behind. I did not grow up being told "You can do whatever you want." Today, children are told that. But I don't know as if I believe that. I dreamt of being a professional tennis player; the fact is I was limited in ability and in financial resources available to receive training.

When I had small children, I knew that making a choice to do something like school meant giving up something else. I did my undergraduate degree with small children, but I could only manage one course per semester, and during semesters when I had a baby, I didn't take anything at all. I did all of my work after they went to bed. It meant I didn't watch a lot of television. I've only ever seen two episodes of Seinfeld, and one I watched while I was in labour, to give myself something to do while I waited for the contractions to progress. My water broke in the middle of it, so that was that. In the end, I'm so thankful that things proceeded the way they did. I was here when my children needed me most. Perhaps some people are embarrassed by being "just a mom." At times, I did feel that stigma. And I shouldn't have. It was a gift to be here with them. And now, I'm getting to do something I wanted to do. All in God's timing.

I have no idea why I had to have a broken ankle at this time (other than the fact that I foolishly ran through the house), but along with time for study and time to learn new physical maneuvers (I am getting expert at lowering myself to the ground to sit with the puppy; my good leg is getting very strong), I also have time to think about God's mercy and about how he works things out for our good. 

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