Have You Found Holland?
I’m not exactly sure how to start this blog except to say that I know that what “moves” me and what inspires me. It usually involves stories of people that overcome difficult circumstances and then thrive. People that have lived a little, felt a little, (or a lot), and have learned from this life to achieve their dreams by overcoming obstacles.
I find that people who have had some struggles in their life and now have overcome them are often driven to achieve amazing things; Things they would have never achieved by a ‘smooth ride’. These people serve others, in a way, because learning from their experiences can make for a very rich life.
That is what our struggles do... they shape us, if we let them.
There is a wonderful poem, “Welcome to Holland” by Emily Perl Kingsley. It was written specifically about raising her child with special needs. But, to me this poem speaks to anyone, in which, life hasn’t gone as you planned, but has made the most and best of it. So substitute your situation in the first 2 lines of the poem. Here it is:
"Welcome to Holland"
I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this: When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo 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 stewardess comes in 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 flight plan. 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 guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met. It's 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....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts. But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned." And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very, very significant loss. But... if you spend your 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. - Emily Pearl Kingsley
So even though life hasn't gone as planned…how have you made it “your Holland”?