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Michelle Warner

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“Welcome to Holland…and Delaware”

Posted on May 25th, 2011

Wednesday Wisdom Well

This well serves a unique drink:
Words that refresh and cause you to think.

I was going through some old files yesterday and ran across this essay I had tucked away. I read it years ago but it still has stuck with me. Though I am not raising a child with a disability, I have experienced many of the emotions she describes. I know that many of us are presented with opportunities to walk down roads we wouldn’t choose or that are different than we envisioned. Yet, I am so thankful that God redeems each situation when we allow Him to work it for our good and His glory.

“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 guidebooks 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 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 of 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 difference place. So you must go out and buy new guidebooks. 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 a different place. It’s slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you’ve been there a little while and you catch your breath, you look around, and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills, Holland has tulips, Holland even has Rembrandts.

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

The pain will never, ever go away, because the loss of that dream is a very significant loss. But if you spend your life mourning the fact that you never got to go to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, very loving things… about Holland.

***

Reading this story brought to mind some of my favorite song lyrics. They are below:

“Welcome to Delaware” by Watermark (Christy Nockles)

Well it’s bitter cold December,
and the leaves have fallen true
And I do believe I’m still in love with You
Yeah, my scenery keeps changing
and sometimes it’s hard to view
But You’ve let me see so much since I’ve known You
But I headed to where it seemed like nowhere
You told me You’d come
You told me You’d meet me here

You were here to say,
“Welcome to Delaware,
I know you’ve traveled far,
And it’s a lot colder here than what you’re used to,
And I know, that in the winter time,
things aren’t what they used to be
So all you really have here now, is Me…”

So I’ve settled here, and that is that
For You to show me who I am
You had to take me to a place I’d never been
And all the things I dreaded most
About the things unseen…
Have now become the sweetest part of me!
And though I headed to where it seemed like no where
I knew You would come,
I knew You would meet me here…

You were here to say,
“Welcome to Delaware,
I know you’ve traveled far,
And it’s a lot colder here than what you’re used to,
And I know, that in the winter time,
things aren’t what they used to be
So all you really have here now, is Me…”

And though I headed to where it seemed like no where
I knew You would come,
I knew You would meet me here…

You were here to say,
“Welcome to Delaware,
I know you’ve traveled far,
And it’s a lot colder here than what you’re used to,
And I know, that in the winter time,
things aren’t what they used to be
So all you really have here now, is Me…”

One Comment on ““Welcome to Holland…and Delaware””

  • Niki Blake says:

    OOOHHHHH How I love this! I have never seen it before. Might have to share it on FB! This might not be our journey, raising a kid with a disability like you said, but it can fit us all somehow. Any time our dream is different than we planned…or we thought….God can take us to great places within His dream for us. :)

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