Welcome To Holland
Just recently I received an email from a
dear friend of mine. She wrote, "A pharmacist
who works with me had her son recently diagnosed
with a disease called Hurler's Syndrome.
If not treated he will become mentally retarded
by the age of 5. They just packed everything
up and moved to another state two weeks ago.
These days, she sent me this email entitled
'Welcome to Holland'. This is what she wrote.
"I am often asked to describe the experience
of raising a child with a disability - to
try to help people who have not shared the
unique experience to understand it, to imagine
how it would feel. It's like this. When you
are going to have a baby, it's like planning
a fabulous vacation trip to Italy. You buy
a bunch of guidebooks and make your wonderful
plans. The Coliseum. Michelangelo's '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 flight attendant comes 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 flights
plans. They've landed in Holland and there
you must stay. The 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 guidebooks.
You must learn a whole new language. And
you will meet a whole new group of people
you would never have met.
It is just a different place. It's slower-paced
than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after
you've been there for a while and you catch
your breath, you look around and you begin
to notice that Holland has windmills, Holland
has tulips, Holland even has Rembrandts.
But if you spend you 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."
In his book God Came Near, Max Lucado writes,
"Hope is not what you expect; it is
what you would never dream. It is a wild,
improbable tale with a pinch-me-I'm-dreaming
ending. It's Abraham adjusting his bifocals
so he can see not his son, but his grandson.
It's Moses standing in the Promised Land
not with Aaron or Miriam at his side, but
with Elijah and the transfigured Christ.
It is Zechariah left speechless at the sight
of his wife Elizabeth, gray-headed and pregnant.
And it is the two Emmaus-bound pilgrims reaching
out to take a piece of bread only to see
that the hands from which it is offered are
Hope is not a granted wish or a favor performed;
no, it is far greater than that. It is a
zany, unpredictable dependence on a God who
loves to surprise us out of our socks and
be there in the flesh to see our reaction."
That is hope, good hope!
(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission
granted for any non-commercial use,
that the content is unaltered from
state, if this copyright notice is