And doubt I will. It’s like this, in Jacob’s lifetime we have been blessed with so many people who have supported us in beautiful, memorable ways. Truly I am blown away by the kindness and goodness of those around us who love us without limits. Cherished is what
they you are.
And while we have both received authentic encouragement and valuable wise counsel, some words have been so powerful, they will not be forgotten. This spring we attended an event where the emcee listed the many people who had made the evening possible. There was a round of applause in appreciation of their efforts and the concert continued. At some point later, he returned to the microphone and said, “well, I forgot to name one person, perhaps that is why you shouldn’t thank anyone.” Laughter erupted and the one person not mentioned earlier got their own round of applause. All of that to say, this is not an all inclusive list of people deserving a thank you. I would most certainly forget someone! Today’s post is about three friends who have made a difference in my life. Beautiful thing is, they did it without even trying.
I’ll start from way back over 30 years ago. One of our neighbors had 3 young children and I had two. She was at our house one day and I was frustrated about Jacob (who was no longer a toddler) eating with his hands instead of using a fork. He was absolutely not interested and I was not making any progress. She kindly said to me, “you know it’s okay if he eats with his hands. Whether it is pancakes with syrup or green beans. Let him do it. For your own sanity.” Goodness I needed that. Obviously I wasn’t seeking permission but what a gift to be reminded that my sanity was important. It was probably one of the first times I considered that taking care of myself would help me provide the best care for my family. Through the years I haven’t forgotten that comment and no doubt that friend is part of the reason I am somewhat sane today.
Next. It was 2006 and I had an appointment with my pastor. We were meeting to discuss an upcoming wedding that he would officiate. I came with my prepared notes to make sure he knew the outline and plan. The details were covered and I gathered my things to leave. And then he surprised me, “what’s it like? What’s it like to have a son like Jacob?” A simple, simple question. One I struggled to answer. Not because I couldn’t, but because I didn’t recall anyone every asking. In those words. I was almost left speechless by his sincerity. By his curiosity. By his genuine heart. By his willingness to ask a question that others have no doubt wondered but were hesitant to voice. To this day, as I type this, I am reduced to tears. This blog wasn’t born from that question but is pretty much an answer to it. I have expressed my appreciation to him for his interest in my family. It is a question that touched me deeply. It is a question I haven’t forgotten.
And more recently – a long, long time friend has blessed me through the years with short, unexpected Facebook messages. This friend and I grew up near each other in a great neighborhood where days were spent riding bikes, playing kickball, and walking to school. Endless games of chase, boys against girls, and tattle tales (as I’m often reminded). The kind of childhood you look back and say, ‘those were the days’. Every now and then I’ll get a message from this friend that basically conveys, ‘you can do it’. And as God does, he uses my friend to send me those just when I need them. A recent message, though, went straight to my heart. Part of it said, “You don’t fully appreciate how rare you are, and how qualified YOU are for YOUR life.” Okay people. I am sure you’ve read enough here to know how unqualified I have felt at times when it comes to raising Jacob. What mom doesn’t have those feelings? Tears flowed. I will never forget those words of encouragement. Healing words to my soul.
As mentioned earlier, there are hundreds of people in our lives that have cared for us over and over again. Those have truly been the hands and feet of Jesus and I am forever grateful. In being real and honest about what autism looks like in our family, I put myself in a vulnerable position. Part of that is in hopes of helping others. And honestly, part of it is therapeutic. The comments received through Facebook, texts, emails, and even sweet notes in the mail, are each an amazing gift. Each are so very helpful and so very appreciated. You never know when a comment will become etched in one’s mind. Your words may be exactly what someone needs to hear whether you realize it or not.
Lord, I remember what you have done. I remember the amazing things you did long ago. I think about those things. I think about them all the time. Psalm 77:11-12 (ERV)
Through blogging, I’ve learned that putting stories on paper helps me to see God’s hand over and over again. I think about how He has used you to speak love and support to me. I wish I could thank everyone that has touched my heart both knowingly and without awareness. Please know that I hold comments closely and they are fuel when I’m running on empty. Thank you doesn’t seem sufficient but it is what I have to offer.