“No one can grow if he does not accept his smallness.”
This week we received the news that we’ve been waiting and praying for over the last year. After 14 months that included surgery, intensive radiation, and grueling chemotherapy, Peter’s MRI shows no evidence of disease and the doctors told us he can begin the next chapter of his life and recovery. Based on the prior scans and his response to the treatment, and most of all God’s goodness, we had a feeling it would be a good report. However, at least for me, I needed to hear it from the doctor’s mouth myself and I could finally breathe for the first time in a long time. In the car ride down, Tricia asked Peter if he was ready for the doctor to give him good news and his response was typical Peter which, if you have been following these posts, is anything but typical. “I’m just ready not to be special anymore.”
As Tricia shared that exchange with me later that night, I had two thoughts. The immediate one was “Sorry dude, your example through this makes you permanently special to the world.” The second thought was actually Tricia’s reaction: “I’m so proud.” How often are my days filled with lamenting over unfulfilled dreams or ideas, things I’ve felt entitled to, or people or circumstances that didn’t affirm how smart or special I think I am? And here is a boy of eight who wants nothing more than just to be who God made him to be (and perhaps the occasional lego set). He doesn’t want to be set apart. He seeks to be a part of the whole. He appreciates the prayers but wants to pray for others. He has loved the cards but wants to send cards to someone else. We believe and we know that God creates each of us uniquely and we all have special and individual dignity and potential. But how badly does our world need for all of us to strive to contribute to the whole rather than to set ourselves apart? What would it mean if we all could better hold in tension the fact that we are infinitely special and at the same time that we are gloriously ordinary? As we continue our Lenten journey, perhaps we can keep that tension close in prayer. As a family, we continue to be immensely grateful for the prayers of this community and so many others. Peter’s journey will continue and I will do my best to honor his wish to be "no longer special,” but I’ll be sure to share the nuggets of wisdom that come from him and others I am blessed to walk this journey of life with every day.