Kicking, Screaming, and Following Jesus
I find Jesus very easy to follow in theory. Its when he wants to go somewhere specific that I start having problems.
December 2nd, 5am: I’m inexplicably unable to sleep and find myself reading “A Road to Daybreak” by Henri Nouwen. He talks of God’s call on him to leave the intellectually stimulating environment as a professor at Harvard Divinity School to go and live in a community of disabled people. He describes himself as going “kicking and screaming.” The coffee and the unusual silence of our house help the words slow down a little.
December 2nd, 4pm: We receive a phone call from the birthing center saying that the genetic test results for our expectant baby boy just came in and we needed to “come in immediately” to talk about the results. We knew immediately that this means Downs Syndrome.
We have two beautiful daughters Ava (7) and Layla (6). Layla came into the world without any observable trauma and yet an MRI when she was three showed damage on both sides of her brain. She is considered intellectually disabled and speech impaired. Her disability meant the end of our life in China, our home for the previous 11 years. The cost and the blessing of Layla frame the news we receive.
In the movie The Green Berets John Wayne is a seasoned Colonel leading missions in the Vietnam war. In a scene boarding an airplane preparing for a parachute mission John Wayne comments “Colonel Kai you haven’t said a word all night.” “You know why?” interjects a third officer. “He’s never jumped before.” “Oh, first one’s easy” John Wayne responds. “Its the second one that’s hard to get ’em to make.”
This is our second jump. Our minds are a rush of resetting expectations. The amount of diapers we will need to buy probably just tripled. The decimal point on medical bills moves to the right. I see a fork stuck in the hope that we will ever return to our globe trotting international life.
December 2nd, 8pm we have tickets to Handle’s Messiah. We keep our babysitting and our plans to go. The tenor sings “Comfort ye my people…prepare ye the way of the Lord.” This is getting a little too real. I feel my soul kicking and screaming. I sense that this is one of those points where my expectations that Jesus follow me are exposed and He puts the original offer back on the table. “Follow me,” I hear Him say.