Has it really been 5 months since I last posted? How time flies… it has been a busy year.
I was moved so deeply tonight and I can’t shake it. I haven’t blogged in a long time but it had always helped me in the past. I need to share tonight.
My wife and I helped a family tonight. It was unexpected and I suppose untypical for us, but we came across a crisis in the lives of some people we know through our work. Another friend involved ask us if we could have the boy from this family stay with us for a few hours until the crisis was dealt with.
We have an area of our home that they knew would accommodate him perfectly so we were happy to help. What I didn’t know was that the boy, about age 11, had some special needs, and was at the maturity level of about a 6-year-old. I also didn’t know that the crisis was about him. One of his parents had come to the end of their emotional rope and was coming unglued. Unglued due to exhaustion of dealing with a child with profoundly high needs. And perhaps some special needs of their own.
A friend, a kind and loving lady, brought the boy to our home and sat with him. My wife and I popped in to see how they were doing. There he sat watching a video on our friends computer and playing with some favourite toys he brought along. They were actually toys more typically played with by girls. Girls much younger than him. My heart melted. I welled up at the sight of this innocent child with pants left too short by his growth spurt, playing with dolls, and having no clue that he was our guest because his parents couldn’t handle him at the moment.
I introduced myself and asked about his movie… a pixar film with brilliant animation and Hollywood stars doing the voices of the characters. He told me about the story line with his impeded speech, pronouncing his Rs as Ws, all the while playing with his collection of dolls on his lap.
All I wanted to do in that moment was wave a wand and make his world perfect. Erase his disability, heal his parents’ woundedness, and make them all ok. I wanted him to be walking down Main Street U.S.A. at Disneyland with his parents. Happy, secure, loved… and not a care in the world.
Yet isn’t the world full of children with needs and circumstances like his and far worse? Of course, everywhere. What can I impart to a child like this? How can I help? What can I do? All I know so far is that I can’t do nothing.
Was I a version of this child when my family was coming apart 40 years ago? Although not special needs like this boy was, was I not this same naive child having no clue about the adult problems going on in the background? And kind friends and family around taking us in and helping us out to insulate us from the turmoil and dangers of my alcoholic father? I remember carting along toys to my Grandparents’ house when one night, Mom drove us there at an unusual time when my Dad was out of town, knowing he would surely return home drunk at the end of the job.
Gladly, our young visitor tonight did return home with the help of the kind lady who brought him here, after another kind and capable friend had helped settle matters at his home and arrange some supports for the days ahead.
Dear God, I can’t stand by and let things like this happen. Please show me what I can do and where I can start. I know I can’t help all, but please show me how I can help the ones I can.
Your servant, Chaz