Confidence in Loving Kindness: Special Needs (Kindness)
EXCERPT FROM MENDED: (OUT OF THE RAG PILE, BACK ON THE HANGER
BY DEBBIE WOODS (PUBLISHED BY HIGHERLIFE PUBLISHING)
Be gentle with one another, sensitive.
EPHESIANS 4:32 (THE MESSAGE)
By God’s design and to my surprise, I have become deeply involved with a delightful young family. The first son and his twin brothers are only twenty months apart in age – quite a challenge for any mom right there. But in addition, the eldest has autism, and the twins have craniosynostosis, a genetic disorder that affects the skull, neck, head, face, mouth, teeth and hands. Multiple surgeries and complicated orthodontia are required, along with various ongoing physical and speech therapies. Later their sister was born. She, too, has developmental needs. Each child is a delight with unique talents, gifts, and personalities. They enrich my life.
I have spent thousands of hours with these kids, frequently out in public for an adventure together. Generally, I’m too busy directing and supervising them to notice those around us. But over the years, I’ve drawn a conclusion regarding people observing us. When the children with an unusual appearance act inappropriately, I see sympathetic smiles and nods. Some people will comment on my patience or kindness in the situation.
But when the child who appears normal is behaving oddly, I see critical looks and disdain. I believe the assumption is that the child isn’t well trained or disciplined, in need of correction. No mercy or compassion is offered.
It occurs to me that we are all special needs people. We are all fighting a battle, whether seen or unseen. We are all wounded, whether the scars are obvious or not. Dressed in our Sunday best – the tragedy, abuse, violence, pain, neglect, injustices, mental illness, physical illness, and spiritual torment of our lives are neatly tucked in and covered up. Add a smile and “we clean up real good.”
Others assume we are well balanced, well trained, and well prepared to be well behaved in any situation. If we aren’t, criticism and disapproval abound. If our “disorders” and “developmental needs” were known, perhaps others would respond with compassion instead of judgment.
As God, The Great Physician, tends to each of us, let us remember to show grace, kindness, and gentleness to His other patients. Do not be fooled by the Sunday Best; there are stitches, scars, and braces holding us all together beneath the coverings. We are a brotherhood of The Mended.
Summing up: Be agreeable, be sympathetic,
be loving, be compassionate, be humble.
That goes for all of you, no exceptions.
No retaliation. No sharp-tongued sarcasm.
Instead, bless – that’s your job, to bless.
You’ll be a blessing and also get a blessing.
1 PETER 3:8-9 (THE MESSAGE)
ON THE JOURNEY WITH YOU,