The Mister bought rhubarb at the farmers' market yesterday and asked how to prepare it in ways other than pies. A few hours later I stumbled across a previously unseen copy of Eating Well among the newspaper recycling-- the special "rhubarb: it's not just for pies" issue. Clearly we are meant to eat lamb and rhubarb.
I keep trying to re-phrase this and it keeps coming across as the set-up for a completely not funny joke: what do mothers of kids with hemiplegia, cancer patients, and women grieving through infertility or loss on Mothers' Day have in common? [Answer] They do not want to hear, "Everything happens for a reason," or "God only gives you what you can handle."
I told you it wasn't funny.
Over and over this has been coming up in conversation recently. Perhaps because I read a lot of "Things Not To Say to Parents of Kids with Special Needs" lists*, perhaps because I just discovered the blog of my former pastor as she deals with her own infertility issues on Mothers' Day, perhaps because I have friends in all of the categories: having recently lost a child, wanting and not having a child, undergoing chemo, and having recently lost a parent, but it seems rather obvious to me. More power to the people who do find a way to learn and grow from every stumble on "their journeys". But really, in the midst of struggles, whether intended or not, these statements end up sounding like, "God wants you to suffer."
I have a hard enough time interpreting obvious signs (the rhubarb issue had been in the recycling stack for months before its eerie appearance on the very day we had fresh rhubarb) without trying to seriously divine the divine. I don't know how it works. I honestly don't think I can know. But I'm pretty sure that whatever ills may be befalling you, it is not because God wants to see you suffer.
I better quit before getting myself in theological trouble. We haven't made anything with the rhubarb yet.
*Also high on the list for kids with hemiplegia in particular, "Well he looks so normal," and, "At least she is adorable."