The morning we buried my mother, my immediate family and I were standing around her grave sniffling and wiping our eyes, mournfully looking down at the hole in ground, when Lance asked, "Isn't Nena (grandma) in heaven with Jesus now"? We all looked at him and Kevin said "Yes Lance, she is". Well he responded with, "We are all getting worked up for nothin'!" The reaction of my family was to laugh and say, "Leave it to Lance to put life in perspective"! You see, he thought since Nena is with Jesus, we do not have to cry, we can rejoice with her!
Over this past week I have been focusing on the extreme trials and stress put on families or people with disabilities, but this morning I want to write about the joy of living with a loved one with disabilities.
Our country diminishes the value of someone disabled. Did you know that 90% of women who find out they are carrying a baby with down syndrome will abort? 90%!! There is a young girl by the name of Elizabeth, who has downs. She and her family, have to be the most active family I know. She dances, swims, acts, sings, she attends family retreat along with two other camps during the summer time, she goes to school and tags along wherever her family goes and is the life of the party. When Elizabeth walks into the room, it lights up. She is loud and funny and loves to be the center of attention.
I told you a little bit about Jimmy and his family in the last post. Well Jimmy cannot talk, he pretty much sits in his wheelchair and just hangs out. But when a pretty girl walks by he starts to smile and if you tease him about it he laughs. It has to be the most wonderful sound in the world, Jimmy's laugh.
When we attend family retreat, we see special needs people as the norm, they are the majority. I have never seen a group of people worship God with such open abandon, pure hearts and adoration. The sound is surely a joyful noise! You may not hear beautiful harmony, but instead voices so off key it is comical. You may hear grunts and see sign language. These people have taught me that to love and worship God, is to give your whole self to Him, sometimes quite literally, as they wiggle and squirm and dance before Him. Many of the campers have never attended a church service where they are free to love God, so they do it with gusto! Ahhh...if only I were that free...
I think that because life is so tenuous for a family facing disabilities, that when there is happiness or joy, it is magnified ten times. So if Lances tells a joke that is a groaner, we laugh harder than we would if a typical man would tell the same one. When the "Through the Roof" group from church attends the Tiger baseball game during the summer, we have a better time than when we attend with "regular" people. It is so much fun to watch Scotty talk with the person selling peanuts or having Amy jump up and down when the Red Sox get a hit (even though we would have preferred them to strike out).
I guess what I want to say is, that my life and the lives of my friends around me may be hard, but they are full lives. Would I choose to live my life like this if I had a choice? Probably not, but I wouldn't change it for the world! Lance has taught me more than I would have ever learned without him. I am forced to cling to God everyday for my strength and sustenance. I am truly grateful I have had the opportunity to grow and to meet to many wonderful people. I am so thankful that I have had the example of the simplicity of loving God, I think the way He originally intended it, simple.