I Love Tulips!

Although it is nearly winter, I’m thinking of tulips.

Why? Because I found the most amazing scarf created from a painting by Joni Eareckson Tada! www.JoniandFriends.org

Buy this scarf at www.JoniandFriends.org

It reminded me of why I love tulips.

My first official outing after our son Gabe was born was a trip to Mount Vernon to see the tulips. Oh so beautiful!

Around the same time, my mother-in-law shared a clipping from Ann Landers that contained a story written by Emily Pearl Kingsley. It was her explanation of what it is like to raise a child with disabilities. I share it often when I speak to groups about how we can change our perspective and survive surprises that come our way.

Tonight I made a card on Shutterfly.com sharing Emily’s story, a photo of Joni’s scarf and a photo of Gabe smelling the tulips a few years ago.

Here is a link to the card on Shutterfly. I have way too much fun making gifts on Shutterfly!:

5×7 Folded Card
View the entire collection of cards.

On the inside of the card you’ll find the story that warmed my anxious heart twenty-one years ago and helped me change my perspective.

WELCOME TO HOLLAND

by Emily Perl Kingsley

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability – to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It’s like this…

When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip – to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It’s all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland.”

“Holland?!?” you say. “What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I’m supposed to be in Italy. All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.”

But there’s been a change in the flight plan. They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven’t taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It’s just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met. 

It’s just a different place. It’s slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you’ve been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around…. and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills….and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy… and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.”

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away… because the loss of that dream is a very, very significant loss.

But… if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things … about Holland.

I pray that whatever you might be facing today, God will help you see tulips and find your way through your unfamiliar place.

I’m so glad I landed where I did. I’ve learned to love the tulips in my life.

God Bless Your heart.

Gigi