(31 Days) A Difficult Mind: Day 30, Lessons from Downton Abbey

I’ve joined the 31 Day Blogging Challenge…31 Days of exploring what it means to live with a neurodiverse child. #write31days


“Harsh reality is always better than false hope.” Dr. Clarkson, Downton Abbey

Who knew a little bit of British TV could be so compelling? In a conversation with my husband about this month he told me he had no idea how I’ve written about this subject for 30 days, it feels so hopeless and sad.

The dear doctor from Downton summarizes it well. I would rather live in the harsh reality of this life than be hurt day after day by false hope. Yet, I still hope.

Lesson 1: Not all hope is false.

There are very few guarantees in this life but the few that exist give me reason to hope. My son is alive. Living, breathing, walking, talking. There is hope in life. Right now hope and eternal hope.

My hope that our son can learn isn’t false. We have seen him learn, change and grow. Sure the going is slow but there is going.

My hope that our son can love isn’t false. He wrote me a note one day that said “My favorite person is you.” Me, the person who disciplines him, gives consequences and pushes him to do hard things. I know he is capable of love because beyond all that he sees that we do those things because we love him. To see love loved out in a harsh world is to be able to embrace it and experience it and live it.

Lesson 2: Harsh reality, is harsh

I can’t ignore what is right in front of me. I can’t ignore the sadness or the violence. I can’t ignore that it is hard for me and my husband. I can’t ignore that our other kids live in a world that isn’t ideal.

These things do make me sad. They are hard to deal with and I do get exhausted.

Just because I am willing to accept my harsh reality doesn’t make it go away. It does give me a point of reference, a place to start and an honest lens to view the world through.

Lesson 3: We need wise voices on this journey.

Just like Dr. Clarkson was to Thomas the valet, I need wise and experienced voices in my life.

I need to hear from people who have been on this journey. I need to hear the difficult words that those closest to me have to say. I need to surround myself with wise community so that I can avoid the deluge of false hope that so easily entangles me.


Today, as I prepare my report for our afternoon therapy session, I am reminded of the harshness of my reality. Hope. Real hope. The promise that my son can and that even if he can’t, he has already come so far. We are a living miracle.


“Hope and sorrow in it all there’s rescue and there’s not.”

There’s Rescue: I have come far enough to be able to accept our harsh reality and put off false hope.

There’s Not: There are still days when I hope for a miracle cure. It is hard not to get swallowed up by false hope.

Today I am thankful for this journey. How far we have come and what lies ahead.


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