Thursday, December 20, 2012


Bookmark and Share
And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34

That could apply to many things in our life.  Forgiveness is an interesting thing.  You often have to humble yourself to understand that others may unknowingly cast hurt in your direction.  In the world of special needs our pain can be intensified by others... but only if we let it be. 

In the beginning I was rather taken back that parents with able-bodied children who openly bragged in front of me about how smart their children were, how fast they learned to walk and talk.  How they were the best in spelling B's, dance recitals, and soccer games.  You wondered why they just didn't know how much you wanted all those things for your child too.  And at times it did feel like many were rubbing salt in my wounds.  They had what I wanted.  An able-bodied, typical child.  But jealousy and envy are dangerous feelings.  They can feed hate and resentment and nothing at all that promotes or helps cultivate the strength and courage needed for this journey.  It can be so self-destructing to always wonder what life on the other side of the fence is like.  You should only be tending to the flowers in your own garden, not trying to see what your neighbor is growing.

Likewise, one day I was stunned that a family who had lost the the father called themselves a special needs family, or a mother who had a child who was in the NICU for seven days, but has a healthy typical child but still claims to be a special needs parent.  While extremely tragic, the death of a parent doesn't make you special needs family any more than a healthy child who had a rough start.  I wondered why they would even want to be like me... there is nothing glamorous about his journey.  It's hard. But when I sat back and truly digested their situations I think they were doing their best to relate to me.  To try to make me feel not so alone with life's bumps and bruises - or at least I'd like to believe those were their intentions. 

I did have to change my expectations of people or I found myself continually disappointed.  I expected this friend to pick up the phone to see how I was doing, another friend to know I needed a hug, to have family members know that I needed simply a listening ear.  People just don't know what to do with you when you have a tragic thing happen to you.  Many simply withdraw innocently because they lack the know how on how to approach you, what to say, how to act.  After all it's our lives that have changed - not theirs.  While it certainly doesn't let everyone off the hook as to say that it takes a special person to change with you and what happened to your life.  Not everyone can make that transition with you.  They don't know how.  You can't expect them to as it hasn't happened to them.

Just because your life is now swallowed up with endless handicapped equipment, new routines, and a medically fragile child doesn't mean their lives can slow down to incorporate yours.  Does it burn?  Absolutely so.  You crave to be included, thought of... you want that invite to birthday parties, to summer bar-b-ques.  But when you really sit back and think even if you were to get an invite you'd likely not be able to RSVP because your child has so many medical and sensory needs and you don't have respite care.  Is it the gesture that we're looking for?  Sometimes.   Everyone wants to feel included even if we can't play reindeer games with the other reindeer. 

But back to forgiveness - there is so much frees your heart in that one simple word.  Forgiveness.  You forgive the mom that boasts that her oxygen deprived child is normal in every way when yours is not, the school teacher that says your child won't ever amount to anything, the stranger who looks at your child and calls him a "cripple."  Because as the good Lord says, "they know not what they do."  Forgiving doesn't mean you are better than them; it just means you are freeing up your heart to incorporate more love for not only your special needs children but all those around you as you travel this road.  We have to be the endless guiding light for our special blessings, we don't have time to hold grudges.  It's has no place in the journey. 


Noah's Miracle by Stacy Warden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.