Thursday, July 18, 2013

Uniquely Made

Ron and I visited a popular big box store last weekend.  We needed to pick up a couple essentials but I had also wanted to look at some clothing.  Having been a stay at home caregiver to Peyton for the last several years, I have not had the need for a wardrobe that was much more than the practical essentials for every day.  I honestly have no head for fashion - and I am very self-conscious about that and very very hard on myself about that.  While the budget doesn't allow for an entire wardrobe makeover, I did want to at least see if I could find a few items so that I could at least wear a different shirt to church on Sunday.  Honestly, I am thankful for the clothes I have {even if they aren't much in the way of style} and know that I have more than many.  I just wanted to feel like a little less frumpy.

The art of retail therapy must be lost on me as I was just worn out.  Since Peyton passed, there is little that I want to do - especially when it comes to shopping for clothes.  I'm not good at it.  I am a "go in and grab what I need" kind of person.  God did not wire me to be a shopper.  We picked up the few necessary items and skipped the clothing purchase altogether.  My heart just wasn't in it, even though we had a goal of picking up some clothing items for me.

We proceeded through the checkout, more weary than when we arrived at the store.  I felt a bit defeated.  My heart wasn't in it.  We moved past the carts towards the exit and that's when I saw her.  A woman was ushering her child through the same entryway trying to get him to proceed in a straight line towards the same exit we were approaching.  She was a older than me.  Her son was distracted, looking everywhere but the exit .  She seemed weary as well.  I don't know if "frustrated" would be the right word, but maybe leaning towards "overwhelmed".  I have to admit that I was probably not paying as much attention as I ought to have been.  I was just wanting to leave the store.  I nearly collided with this mother and child, though I'd seen them heading in our general direction.

Nearly a week later, this incident still tugs at my heart.  

Why?

The boy is a young to mid-teen {I'm guessing} and he has special needs.

Our paths intersected and the mother apologized in a way that made me sense that she was apologizing because of her special needs child who she was simply trying to get to move towards the exit.  While our situation was not and is not what theirs is, I just could not help but think "Oh, ma'am, if only you knew our situation."  It struck me in that moment how many times we had gone out with Peyton and I just felt like everyone was "looking at us".  It's hard not to notice a little girl being pushed in a red wheelchair with her legs propped up on the arms of the chair {if you didn't know Peyton, she was extremely flexible and people always noticed that and commented on how cute it was and how flexible she was}.  I remember being blocked from passing with Peyton on a sidewalk at school while moms and nannies waited on their little ones to get out of school {I actually had to pass the group of women on the grass, but that's a whole other conversation}.

I sympathized with this woman in what seemed to be a bit of an overwhelming moment for her.  I did not have an upwardly mobile special needs child, so I can't speak to what her exact experience was like.  However, I know what it's like to feel like you have to apologize because you're taking a little longer than everyone else or because you need a wider than normal path or because you can't control the verbalizations your child makes {Peyton was not "speaking" and was fairly quiet, but she did squeal from time to time!}.  I'm a fairly self-conscious person as it is.  I can only speak for myself, but as you can imagine, having a child with obvious disabilities can draw attention.  It can make an already self-conscious person even more self-conscious.

While I may have been self-conscious, I certainly did not mind or care that Peyton looked a little different or acted a little different or sat in a wheelchair.  I love Peyton {still - I cannot use past tense there} as my daughter regardless - disability or no disability.  

My heart broke for that mother in that moment.  I had seen them coming and I recognized the son's special needs.  I held the door open as the exited the store, as I would have for anyone else.  I felt sad for the mother and the fact that she felt it necessary to apologize for their slowness or their awkwardness or whatever it was that she was apologizing for.  I felt sad because I could sympathize.  I felt sad that there are so many other moms {and dads, grandparents, siblings, and other care-givers} who may be experiencing the same thing.  I felt sad that the moment didn't present itself as an opportunity for me to convey that I understood.  I felt sad that those moments for me are behind me.  I would give anything to have Peyton back.

I wish that mom knew that I did not see her son as disruptive or in my way.  I simply saw a mom trying to steer her child out of the store.  Yes, I recognized he was special needs, but I think you know what I mean.  I wasn't "gawking" or thinking "ooh...look at that special needs kid".

"For we are God's masterpiece.  He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we could do the good things he planned for us long ago."  {Ephesians 2:10, NLT}

I believe that God created each and every person as a unique individual.  That means that the abilities and disabilities we each have were God-given.  I believe that God envisions a plan and a purpose for each and every person, regardless of how able-bodied they are.  I believe that each and every person has the power to be used by God.  I can testify to the power of God seen through the life of one very special child, Peyton.  There are countless stories I could share about how He has worked through her in the life of my family.  There are countless others who could share stories about how Peyton impacted their lives.  That is God at work.  I may not have left that big box store with the clothes I wanted to liven up my drab wardrobe, but I did leave touched by the reminder of these truths.

I pray that when we encounter people with special needs, whether children or adults, that we don't look at them and see a disability.  I pray that we afford them the same respect we would give to others we encounter in our daily walk.  I pray that people would see the blessings these people are.  I also pray that the mom who might be feeling self-conscious because they think their child is disrupting the flow because of a disability would know that they are loved by God and He has a plan for their child

 photo signature_zps058cf4af.jpg

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love hearing from you! I welcome your comments.