Sticks and Stones and Other Bogus
We all know how it goes and we all know it’s bogus…words can hurt us deeply.
Being Aidan’s mom has introduced me to the power of words in a new way. I’ve had to learn medical jargon; I’ve become sensitive to the word “retard”; I’ve learned that labels are really doors to services.
And yes, I’ve heard the trite, unhelpful remarks, ‘God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.” “Everything happens for a reason.” blah blah blah….I can brush those off as well-intentioned comments spoken by people who are really just at a loss for words.
Sometimes I’m sure people have no idea what they’ve just said, like this dentist who suggested that God was good to protect the teeth of a child with a disability while completely overlooking the seizure monster in his brain.
Then I read this awful awful awful story that kicked me in the guts. Here a preacher suggests that Epilepsy can be punishment or an indication of evil. Besides being unhelpful and unloving, it’s just bad theology. These are words that keep me up at night.
So here’s something that’s not bogus: relationships matter most and relationships shape our words.
I’ve spent lots of time spinning how I present Aidan – sometimes with incredibly positive adjectives to get professionals excited about inclusion, and sometimes with more harsh descriptors to secure services.
When I’m not working so hard to make a place for Aidan, I can be surprised by joy, by community, by relationships, by inclusion. I was going to allow Aidan to participate in church camp this year as always. After much angst and debate, Garreth and I decided it would be best to keep him at school. Aidan’s seizures are just scarier than before, and this year he has his power wheelchair which could potentially run over little unsuspecting church babies. It’s just so much to ask of anyone.
I relayed this information to my pastor, who would have been Aidan’s teacher, and this was his response, “Do me a favor, let us have him for at least one day.”
Do me a favor….not, “We’ll take it for the team or tough it out or comply with the law or do the right thing.”
Do me a favor….filling a need or doing a kindness or giving a gift. This implies benefit to the other person – my pastor, the other kids, my church family.
Sometimes words are a balm to my soul.
With all the noise in my head and bogus messages from a variety of places in our world, sometimes I forget…Aidan is a gift.
Who in your life needs to hear that they are favored, a treasure, a gift?