Saturday, August 15, 2009

Open the Door

My best friend is Pam and she lives in Colorado. That is a long way from Yuma, Arizona. We have never lived in the same town or state for that matter yet, she is my VERY best friend. She has carried me through many dark days all via long distance. We are apart, but our spirits are forever intertwined because I answered the door when God knocked.

When tragedy strikes......God always opens doors.

I met this amazing woman two summers ago. We were all stuck at the Ronald McDonald House in Phoenix, Arizona during the blazing heat of June, July, and August. I was on one of my extended stays that would last seventy-eight days, and I was feeling rather deflated. I had DJ in Occupational Therapy three days a week and at his autism doctor the other two days. We had a ton of down time with not much to do except be hot.

One evening in early June, I went down to the dining room to eat our community meal. I walked in and saw a woman with a toddler sitting in a stroller. This child was crying obviously inconsolable. Her little body was pulled straight like she had a piece of plywood under her. I could see that the child was attached to a feeding pump. The scariest part was this beautiful little girl had the blankest stare on her face. There was no light in her eyes and it almost looked like her soul was taking a vacation.

All the while this haggard woman ate with a frantic look on her face. She shoveled the food in as quickly as she could. I could tell that she wasn't comfortable being in this public situation.

At this moment, all I could think was how glad I was that that wasn't my child. I was very grateful to only have autism that day......not the most Christian response. I left the dining room with this woman and child tearing at my soul all night.......I couldn't sleep. I could only think of the woman and her terribly disabled child. Why hadn't I said, "Hello"? What was wrong with me??

Again I repeat.......God you answer?

The next day, I had the chance to meet this woman. I met her because I took a chance.......I answered the door.

Who was the woman? You guessed it....Pam! Over the course of the next few weeks I got the chance to get to know this remarkable woman.........

Tomorrow, I let you know more of our amazing story.......

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Long Journey Home

This has been a trying week to say the least. I have personally suffered some disappointments but have watched people I really care about suffer the greatest loss.......the loss of their loved one.

Tomorrow, I have to attend the funeral of a woman, my age, who lost her battle with breast cancer. I haven't thought much about breast cancer in the last three years because I have been buried in autism. For those of you who don't know me, I too once waged war with breast cancer. The major difference is, I was lucky..........I won.

This special woman lost her battle on Tuesday night and left behind three amazing children. Three children who will never again have their mother hold them in her arms and tell them how amazing they really are. You see, I believe no one will ever be able to love you the way our mother's loved us..............except God.

Another woman, also lost her battle with cancer Thursday night. She was much older and had grown children and grandchildren. This woman, a widow, chose to volunteer countless hours to youth activities building lifelong friendships along the way. This woman was one of my mother's best friends.

She had no education to speak of and cleaned houses and offices to pay her bills after her husband died. Yet, I never once heard her complain about her position in life and she had a sense of humor that could break any tense situation with roars of laughter. She endured the early loss of her husband with dignity and gave of herself to fill the place he had in her heart. She had an amazing spirit.

We are all making this journey back to the Father because our time here is so relatively short. How have we spent this precious time? Loving, laughing, and embracing others, or brooding, grumbling, and feeling sorry for ourselves. This amazing journey of life can teach us so much, but it really means nothing if we never give of ourselves and share God's love with others. I hope that we choose love and then our spirit will continue to give to those we have left behind.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

But This Isn't What I Ordered!!

I had to leave my vacation early today due to unforeseen circumstances. Hey, it's not any one's fault but I couldn't help but think......This isn't what I ordered!

My daughter and I left beautiful Oceanside, California this morning. To extend my vacation, we drove down Pacific Coast Highway until we reached La Jolla. The drive should have been refreshing as we passed through seaside towns and right along side the Pacific Ocean. It wasn't.....I was brooding!

We finally jumped on I-5 to transition to I-8 heading east. I didn't talk much....mumbled under my breath and grumbled about traffic, drivers, and my problems.

Finally, I stopped in El Centro at their local Mickey D's. I went to the bathroom and my mood further soured
due to the blast furnace of heat that hit me when I opened the door. I got back in the car to order from the drive through. You see, we couldn't eat inside due to a show Guinea pig passenger we had. (A discussion topic for later for those of you who don't know me personally!) I ordered our food and drove around to pick it up. Finally, I was feeling more chipper. We now had drinks and food, so I was feeling a little more chipper.

Then it happened...............

I reached in the bag and realized I didn't even get what I ordered!! How could people be so dumb and irresponsible. Hey, we've all been here.....torqued and too busy to go back. I drove home begrudgingly eating the food they had given me. Angry with each bite and swallow.
I just kept thinking, this isn't what I ordered!

You see, I have faced a week of bitter disappointment and discouragement and the wrong food was the final straw! I just wanted something to go right. It wasn't fair......

I took tonight, now that it quiet, to reflect on the actual vacation. I wanted to get out of my pity party and focus on something positive. As I reflected, my mind kept coming back to the afternoon DJ and I spent at the beach. He ran, played, and splashed in the surf. Joy exuded from his whole body as he took in the ocean and all it had to offer. You see, DJ doesn't brood.

If anyone in the world has a right to be angry and bitter, it's DJ. He has spent most of his very young life being a science experiment. He has had more doctor's appointment, thousands of hours of therapy, months away from home to receive therapy, countless IVs, hours sitting getting IV's, a full GI series, very weird diet, thousands of supplement pills, and so much more.

Never once has he stated, "This isn't what I ordered mommy!"

He cries, and complains briefly only to replace these emotions with hugs and high fives to those whom just inflicted the pain upon him. I believe that DJ truly has the Spirit of Christ in his heart. He is a model of forgiveness, and love.

To be totally honest, DJ isn't exactly what I ordered either. I have learned that God often gives us our greatest gifts when we don't get what we want. How could I have ever gained true perspective without DJ? I consistently learn my greatest life lessons from a disabled six year old little boy. God is the master of contrast.

I thank God tonight for autism and DJ. Although God hasn't chosen to restore my son's health, He chooses to give me a blessing amidst the suffering. DJ isn't the perfect little boy I ordered but he is exactly what I needed to help me be the person I was designed to be!