our work

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Touring Holland - A Reader's Response

P.S.(IN AN AWKWARD PLACE) I JUST CHECKED MY STATS AND NOTICED READERS FROM THE NETHERLANDS. PLEASE NOTE THAT I DON'T TRULY "HATE" HOLLAND, IT'S PEOPLE OR THE NETHERLANDS. I HAVE NEVER BEEN THERE. "HOLLAND" IS JUST THE COUNTRY CHOSEN BY THE AUTHOR OF A POEM TO REPRESENT AN UNEXPECTED DESTINATION. THE NAME OF ANY COUNTRY COULD BE INSERTED.


My recent post regarding our son who has RAD and our family's exile to "Holland" sparked much response. From private emails to facebook messages, many of you expressed that you, yourselves, are fellow residents of "Holland". I want to thank you, as I so often do, for just reminding me that our family is in good company, the best, really.


One particularly poignant response is reprinted below (with permission by the author, Jeff McSwain). Jeff's wife and I were recently able to spend some very "real" time together discussing our shared struggles and the grace that God has shown us in these struggles. I hope you will find her husband's Christ-focused response to "these current trials" as uplifting and concise as I do.


Touring Holland - by Jeff McSwain, father of a large family. Some adopted. Some not.

God is my travel agent, my tour guide, and my true husband. Holland is
not where I wanted to travel, and not where I expected to be, but it
is the spot God booked for me. If I focus on where everyone else seems
to be able to go and enjoy, and ignore my Tour Guide, then my life
will be a walking death, full of a growing darkness, bitterness, and
depression. I know because I have done this, at times.

One thing that helps me is to remember what I deserve. The fact is, we
all deserve an all-expense paid trip to Hell. Holland is heaven, in
comparison!

Through suffering, I have learned how to be thankful that I am in
Holland. I have developed a desperate dependence on my Tour Guide, Who
comforts me in ways that my closest family and friends, even my own
spouse, cannot. I know my God in ways that those who seemingly get to
spend their lives in Italy may never know.

If I had been sent to Italy, where I was continuously thrilled by my
surroundings, enthralled with exotic sights and smells and tastes, and
inspired by culture filled with the music of Rossini, the paintings of
da Vinci, and the statues of Michelangelo, it might be completely
beyond me to remember the name of my Tour Guide even a few weeks
later. “Yeah, He was there, but He really was just part of the
background for me.”

But in Holland, my tour guide carries the trip, and He leads me
through the sweaty underbelly of the city sometimes, and the sights
fill me with fear and pain. He booked my trip with others who think
and act appallingly, who offend my senses and betray and wound me. My
Tour Guide, though, is kind, gentle, patient, loving, joyful,
peaceful, and truly good.

When I look back on my time in Holland, I confess that it thrills me.
The dykes under the starry, wide-open night sky where I took walks
with Him. The backstreet where I held His hand while a hoodlum opened
fire on us just for the fun of it. The hospital where He stayed by my
side while I recovered from my gunshot wound. The good advice He gave
me about how to love the others on the trip when really I was just
secretly hoping that they'd go on a bathroom break and get left behind.

Holland was the best place for me. The purpose of my trip to Holland
was not for me to enjoy and remember the good things about Holland.
The purpose of my trip was for me to fall in love with my Tour Guide.
Holland made it easy for me to love my Tour Guide. "Yeah, Holland was
there, but it really was just the background for me."

Now, it hardly matters where I am, because I know and love the Great I AM.

2 comments:

  1. Well said. God truly loves us, all of us and I am so glad he Has given us friends to bear one another's burdens. For all the responses you have had, think of all the ones who are thinking and praying for you that didn't respond publicly. He is our tour guide and the lifter of our heads. Amen

    ReplyDelete