Not everything in life is about “hitting it out of the park”. Sometimes, it’s just about showing up and connecting.
Special need parent warriors will understand my excitement… WE GOT HIM TO HOLD THE BAT!!!
I met some long-time friends, Kent and Maureen Wildman, for dinner last night at a restaurant in Franklin. As we were walking in, I noticed this sign on the window of the store next door. It stopped me dead in my tracks.
Three simple words… We Will Listen.
Maureen approached the owner so I followed. When she asked why the sign, he answered, “Cause we do.” Three more simple words. I told him, “I don’t own a bike but I just may buy one now, so I can come in this store. All because of your sign.”
I was challenged to ask myself where I am on the listening scale?
James doesn’t talk much because of his disabilities, so I don’t have to listen much, at least on an audible level. But what about listening with my heart? To James, or to anyone for that matter. What are my friends saying (or not saying) that I should be hearing? And do they all know that I am someone that will listen?
Years ago, before acceptance was a part of my daily vocabulary with James, I would cry because I felt so lost and afraid and angry.
And one of the most comforting things someone once said to me was, “I hear you.”
That’s it. Those words lingered in the air around me and for a moment, lifted the heavy burden off my heart and held it ever so briefly. They didn’t try to fix it, or make me feel better, they just said, “I hear you.”
We had a lovely meal and fabulous conversation. We laughed and cried and they let me babble about my crazy life. And they listened. Old friends, the ones who knew you when you barely knew yourself, and stuck with you when you always thought you were right when you couldn’t have been more wrong – those friends – yeah, they rock.
On my drive home after dinner, I realized that, as usual, I did most of the talking. (Us creative types usually just want to make sure the mic is on so we can be heard.)
So today, I want to hang a sign on the window of my heart.
This is my prayer; to listen more closely to James, to my friends and to the conversation that life itself is trying to have with me.
“…new life starts in the dark. Whether it is a seed in the ground, a baby in the womb, or Jesus in the tomb, it starts in the dark.”
Barbara Brown Taylor
I spent all day Monday in bed. I knew depression had shown up big time. I’ve wrestled with it long enough to know it’s tricks, so I have a few of my own. On Tuesday, I headed to the park.
The worst thing you can do when you are depressed is to stay home alone and eat the entire bag of Oreo’s.
(Not that I’ve ever done that!) So, I walked and I walked and I walked. I let the cool breeze make my eyes water. I smiled at dogs and tried to say hello to strangers. And then it started. The melody first in my head, over and over it played. About one mile down the road I heard the first line,
“We all get something in this life, that we can’t change or fix.”
I started talking out loud to myself, at first in a sweet voice, but then in my stern dead mother’s voice, “Lynn, this is your life now. You tell everyone that it’s about acceptance of what ‘is’. You are always saying that you can’t ask ‘why’ or you will stay stuck, and that you must keep moving forward. So keep moving forward! Oh, and stop eating Oreo’s!” And then another line came into my head, and then another. By the time I finished the second mile, the entire song was written.
This song came out of darkness.
It came out of my own struggle with depression and the truth that having a special needs child in the end always comes down to daily acceptance of what is.
As typical humans living and breathing on this planet we have our struggles. We will worry about tomorrow and beat ourselves up for things we did last week, last month or when we were in college. We will over indulge, self-medicate and worry. Or at least I will. So, when I look at my special needs child, and I find myself thinking that he has a rough life, I remember that I have it all backwards.
Those born with the ability to live solely in the moment, they are in fact the lucky ones.
When I returned home from my walk I reached out to a couple friends. Depression wants you to believe that you are alone. It is a lie. I was not. Within twenty-four hours my community of support helped me shoot the video, record the track, gather photos and be able to share this with you.
I’m thankful for my journey and the gift of this song, that started in the dark.
Happy World Down Syndrome Day!