Saturday, January 14, 2012

Difference and Purpose

I love this picture, because it makes me think of my children. They were severely mentally impaired, blind, deaf, unable to walk, or run, jump or play without assistance, but they were so special and they were mine.
Being different in this world is not something that is accepted readily.  Unless you are outwardly beautiful, talented in some astonishing way, or wealthy and can show it, there is little welcome in this world for you, unless you can get people to look past your differences, to find out who you are.
For someone who is handicapped or disabled, it is very hard to find acceptance.  You discover that most people feel a lot of fear, and awkwardness when meeting people who are different.  You find out who your friends are, you discover who can handle your new life an the challenges, struggles, heart breaks, setbacks, and sorrows that are now a part of your every day.
Through those struggles though, I came to understand how special my son and daughter were. By taking on the responsibility of caring for them everyday, rooting for them when they worked so hard to perform the basic tasks that we take for granted, and loving them when they slept so peacefully in my arms, I came to see them for the gift that they were.
They taught me more in their short lives about compassion, unconditional love, and about myself than anyone could ever have.
I was saddened by the fact that few had the courage, or took the time to get to know them better.  They had such sweet spirits.  They were full of love and simple appreciation for those who loved them and shared the day with them.
Music provided so much joy to them.  The right tune soothe them, or made them want to dance and play.  They loved being sung to, and the hymns played on Sunday morning made them so peaceful.
Silliness was the order of the day and being around them made you want to be silly.  They made you feel like you could be yourself.  They only wanted your time, your laughter, your attention.  The simplest things made them laugh and smile.  A silly noise, the laughter of others, music and dancing around the living room, all of those things made for such happy memories.  Anthony love it when Tony would "play" wrestle with him and Tia on the floor.  He loved taking walks and feeling a breeze on his face.  His absolute favorite thing to do though, was to stand (holding onto the window sill) and feel the sunshine on his face.  His favorite spot to sit was in the section of sunshine that would shine down through the window creating a wide, warm rectangle of light on the floor.  He would sit there for so long, just basking in the warmth an beauty.  I loved to watch him, quietly from the other side of the room.
To have someone need you so much, to love you so unconditionally, to need you in ways that no one else could, was such a blessing.
Kyra was my snuggle bug.  She could not do as much as her brother, which was very little, but what she could not do, she made up for in love.  She loved to snuggle and listen as I read her stories, or sang her songs.  The hymn "I am a child of God" was a song that I sang to her every night while she fell asleep in my arms. Those are the moments that I remember with longing the most.
The other memories I have caused me to suffer from depression, and post traumatic stress, but if I am being honest, I would be willing to do it again, if God asked me too.
I understand the crucifixion now so much more now, and in such a personal way.  I understand the sorrow that our Heavenly Father must have felt knowing what his son, our savior Jesus Christ, was going to have to go through.  I understand the helplessness he must have felt knowing that nothing could be done to change his fate.  He was meant to suffer for our sake.  I know that helplessness. My son and daughter went through so much that I could only observe.  I could offer them support, love and comfort, but there was so much that was out of control.  How often does our Heavenly Father watch helplessly, only able to offer us the love and comfort when we suffer, or when we face situations that are necessary for our growth.
However there are times when we make choices, going against all we know, and against our better judgement, to fit in, or to escape, but are not necessarily prepared for the consequences that come with it.  Many people believe that God causes bad things to happen to us, but that is not true.  Often he has to allow the bad to happen, for our growth.  Often he has to allow us to suffer the consequences of our actions, decisions, and choices.  The question for us is, do we trust that he knows us better than we know ourselves?  Do we trust that he has a plan for us?  Do we allow him to teach us those things that he feels we need to learn.  Do we trust that he knows what we are capable of, or that he knows our potential.
Not all of us are born with superior intelligence, the ability to draw, sing, tell a story, create, or understand, but it does not mean that we are not worth knowing that we are not worth the time, effort, friendship, love, or time of those around us?
My children were not able to do the normal things that most children could do.  They could not see, they could not hear properly, they could not speak, run, jump, walk, or express themselves, but there is not one moment that I shared with them, that I would trade for the world.  They were a joy to behold, and those who did get the chance to know them better, came away with so much love and appreciation for them.
How often do we ignore those meeker members of society, or in our lives.  How often do we take the time to understand to know, support and love those around us that we take for granted.  How often do we offer friendship to those who may not be in our everyday social circle?  How often do we attend to the needs of those around us, without expecting something in return?  How often do we offer a kind word, a smile, a simple act of love, without needing a holiday as an excuse?
Are we loving those who are around us, the way that our savior taught us to?
It is just something to consider.

" I dreamt of heaven the other night, an the pearly gates swung wide.  An angel with halo bright ushered me inside.  And there to my astonishment stood folks I'd judged and labeled as quite "unfit" of "little worth", and spiritually disabled." Indignant words rose to my lips, but NEVER were set free, for EVERY face showed stunned surprise, not ONE expected ME!"  -Unknown

I love you Anthony, Kyra, an Gabriel.  I miss you, but I am so grateful for the lives you live on our behalf.
I can't wait to see you again. -mom

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