|Judson walking with his mom and my friend, Alana|
We came home for our church retreat. The retreat included both churches, so while it was nice to see everyone together it was a little difficult as we don't completely feel a part of either right now. If I wasn't sure of His call,I'd probably be a little down after this past weekend; but knowing difficulty doesn't mean wrong direction. Feeling His peace despite the circumstances that surrounded us kept us going. Like I've written so many times, if I hadn't given it everything this would be easier. If I had guarded my heart, this would be less painful. Half-hearted isn't what we're called to. "All in" knowing we may have disappointments or get hurt, yet doing it anyway is what we're called to do. Any change always takes time to adjust, but God is good and His grace really is amazing. It's cool to see God at work, as several people we're baptized, from both churches. Their testimonies were worth the trip alone.
I'm fortunate to have a great relationship with my sister and brother, so when it comes to treating my church family like my bio-family I have a good idea what that looks like. If you didn't grow up with a sister or a brother, you don't have an idea what it should look like. Or worse, maybe you had a poor relationship, so you don't have a healthy track to run on. I have thirty plus years of practice investing in my siblings, so trusting them does come a lot easier.
All this leads to Sunday at camp. I had done a pretty good job of keeping my composure until Sunday morning. I just lost it and the floodgates opened. I sat behind my good friends' son, Judson. Jud is thirteen with a Traumatic Brain Injury. He has some language, but it's limited. It's been amazing to watch him grow and learn in the past six years. He's calmed down so much. It was amazing to see him sit through services now. As I sat in tears unable to control the heartache I'd been feeling, Jud turned around, grabbed my hand and held it to himself. He then switched my hand to his other one and put his arm around me and pulled me in for a hug. He hugged me, held my hand, and patted my arm for the next fifteen minutes or so. It was such a simple act of caring that the tears just poured out. He spoke to my simplest need of just being loved and cared for. He saw my tears and responded in the only way he could. Wow... if that didn't pierce my heart.
How often do we sit and wonder, shifting anxiously in our seats, eyes darting in different directions hoping someone else will respond? Fearing the unknown and not wanting to get involved or send the wrong message we are handicapped in our own world. Handicapped... That's what they call Jud. I just read a book that said, "Wouldn't it be ironic if we got to Heaven and found out they're not the ones who are handicapped, but it is us instead?" They love with reckless abandon. They clap and laugh when they're happy and cry when they are sad. They don't hide their emotions or pretend to be someone they are not. They're not afraid to feel your pain, but turn around in their seats in front of everyone and embrace. They hold on for as long as it takes regardless of apparent appropriateness. Waiting until the emotion fades, absorbing my pain and sharing it with me... if even for a short time.