Anyway, I've been pondering it.
So here's my response. An answer? Maybe. At least my unvarnished self, laid out like an offering.
Does it mean a perfectly healthy body? I've been among women--many, many times--who, while complaining about this thing or that, have said, "At least I have my health. Thank You for that, God." And I've sat there while in such deep and agonizing pain I felt stabbed in the heart by their words. Am I less blessed, I used to wonder. Less blessed because I've had migraines as long as I've 'been a woman,' (if you'll excuse my euphemism). And have now lived in unrelenting nerve pain for ten years? Has God meant ill for me? I never once believed this. Never once. I always, always had the sense that mere physical health is NOTHING to Him. That my question should never be "WHY me?" but "Why NOT me?" And "Whatever You wish, Lord." That is His blessing.
But then this:
But something happened on his way to growing up. Or a whole lot of things happened, I suppose. One of them you can see in this photo if you know how to look at it. His left shoulder was hurt. Hurt so badly he had to wear a sling for a year. And when that happened...(as well as the other things!)
I still didn't ask why. I still thought we were blessed. That he was blessed. With health and brains and humor and sensitivity and the best heart. Like his daddy's. And his Abba-Daddy's!
I can hardly write of him today.
Yet, here I am. Baring my soul to it--to him. To the hard, questioning truth of it. What does it mean to be blessed with my son? For him? Never before have I questioned why God allowed something. But this I ask. I have a son with crippling mental illness. A son for whom I would give my life. He is a blessing. He will always be a blessing. This very day--even this day, this dark, hard day--my son is a blessing in my life. God blessed me (and Beve) that day when he gave me this son. But, no one ever imagines this--a child with mental illness-- when they think of having children. NO one. And no matter what pain I have in my own body, no matter what stress I feel in other things, when I think of what he's living with inside his very head, I feel broken by it. Can hardly do more than lift my hands in supplication.
But when I lift my hands, I also lift them in praise. For this son. For every bit of him. Because, no matter what, his life is a blessing. But...is THIS a blessing? This illness? Can I, will I, EVER say that? I don't know. I can't imagine that. Not this day. What it means to be blessed today is that we--J in it and me with him in it--live in the darkness through it.
Every day I ask him, "How are you today?"
"Not great," he answers. Every day.
And every day I dream of the moment when his answer will be different. When there will be more health. When he will be healed. Supernaturally--in an instant--or through meds. I don't care, just so he's whole.
Until then, honestly, I know that I am blessed. And by faith, I say that he is blessed. That's the only truth of it.
J is loved.
By me and by God.
That is blessing. Yes.
Then, yes, he is blessed.
That's enough for this dark day.