I'VE LEARNED THAT HOLLAND REALLY DOES HAVE
BEAUTIFUL TULIPS . . .
When we find ourselves in places we didn't anticipate being,
it's easy to feel disappointed, overwhelmed and even ill-prepared
to deal with such foreign terrain.
The essay below is a favorite of mine and describes beautifully the need to FIND the joy and beauty when we arrive in those unexpected places in our lives. There's usually much soul-searching and, at times, even a fiery refiner's fire to enter before a real settling comes into our heart that allows us to ACCEPT "things as they really are."
Just like the author of this essay, I too, planned for ITALY but found myself quickly and unexpectedly in HOLLAND. I've had to make many adjustments in my outlook over the past several years but I'm grateful for the depth of understanding that's come to me along the way because I DID make those adjustments . . . understanding that perhaps would NOT have come had I gone to ITALY. I'm still in Holland, but with a new hope that maybe, just maybe, I might YET be blessed to experience ITALY, too!
Here's the essay I'm referring to . . .
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 vaction 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 most 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 awhile 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.
[1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley]
I'M GRATEFUL FOR THE BEAUTIFUL TULIPS I ENJOY TODAY . . .
BECAUSE I'VE SPENT SO MANY YEARS IN HOLLAND!