Today, is a hard day. My heart hurts. My breath aches. My eyes are filled with tears. I just want you to know that many people struggle. Some people never see the hurt, or the pain that they cause. Some people don’t realize what they do. Some people don’t know or understand what mean-ness is all about. At least, I like to hope that they don’t. I like to think that they wouldn’t make these choices if they really knew.
So today, I am going to talk about my little pioneer. She is going through a hard time. She has a disease that makes her different from the other children her age. She was diagnosed a little over a year ago. It has not been easy for her.
I remember the day we went to the doctor’s office to try and find out what was going on. We knew something was wrong. We had never seen anything like this before; neither had the doctor. That doctor called another doctor, who called another doctor and so on. They kept sending us to new doctors. It seemed as if no one on the mountain could diagnose the problem.
Finally, we found a pediatrician that knew what to look for. She sat down and talked to my little sweetheart, and promised that we would find out what was wrong. She told her that the first thing she was looking for was a brain tumor. That was a shock. It made it the hardest day ever, but she sent us to the hospital for all the tests, and had us wait for the results. She called us within an hour to give us the news that the results were negative. We were so relieved. We wrapped our arms around each other and cried tears of joy. We both decided that we could deal with anything now that that was out of the way.
So the doctor referred us to Phoenix Children’s hospital to a specialist. They were able to diagnose the disease. It was not one that I ever thought possible. We hoped that it would go away; we wanted it to go away; we prayed that it would go away; but it did not. It was still there every night when she went to bed, and every morning when she got up.
I have never known anyone to handle it as well as this child. I have been able to realize that nothing has changed really. She is still the same child that I have always loved. She is still just as beautiful, just as strong, and just as amazing as she has always been. Maybe even more so, because now I see what she must go through to just try and fit in. Now I see what she must endure. Now I am starting to realize just how much I admire and respect her. Most of all, I am starting to realize just how much she must mean to our Heavenly Father. He knows exactly what she needs to develop into the daughter that He needs her to be.
But still, I would take away high school if I could. I would endure it for her. I would wish that her heart did not hurt every single day. I cannot; but I can love her; I can support her, and I can always remember who she is and what she can become. I can’t “fix” things, or take away her trials. I can only hold her while she cries and remind her that she is loved and wanted and needed exactly the way she is. In spite of her disease that continues to make her different from her peers.
I think we could handle the disease. It is not the worst thing to ever happen. But, it is the bullying, the name-calling, the un-acceptance, the people who think that she can just “decide” to stop and everything will be well. The people who don’t see the problem on most days, so on a bad day, they think she is faking. The teachers who don’t help her to learn, the school who tries to ignore it and hopes that I won’t cause any problems.
It is all the little things concerning how others see her and treat her that cause the most hurt with this. It is hard enough to be a teenager without having others continually tell you and show you how different you are.
So, my point, none of us can possibly know exactly what anyone is going through. None of us can walk in their shoes, or feel their pain. Sometimes, we can experience something similar, but we are each unique. We need to be so careful what we say to others. It is the things that we say (or sometimes don’t say) that do the most damage.
I can tell you from personal experience that I don’t remember near as much of the physical abuse that I suffered as I remember the words that were said to me time after time. It is the words that come back to my head when I am feeling blue. It is the negative statements that come back to haunt me and that find a hold in my heart.
Talk to your children about differences. Just because someone is handicapped or acts differently, doesn’t mean that they can’t be hurt. It doesn’t mean that they are not “normal”. It doesn’t mean that they don’t feel, and need, and laugh, and cry. It doesn’t mean that they are not human, with all the emotions and thoughts that go with that wonderful blessing.
Talk to your children about kindness. What it means, what it is, and how it works. Teach them that words can make a difference to someone. That being included can mean so much to someone who is not part of the group. Teach them that it is never Ok to be a bully. That it is never ok to poke fun or tease. Teach them the golden rule and how it applies to each one of Heavenly Father’s children.
Most of all, teach them that every single one of us are children of a Heavenly Father who loves us. He knows our differences. He knows our challenges. He knows our pain. He alone knows the price we pay to be different.
May each of us strive just a little harder to be just a little bit better to all those who are around us. May kindness be more than just something we preach. May we always remember that we are His hands, His eyes, and His heart while we are hear upon the earth.
Too often, we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. ~Leo BuscagliaAnd one more for you to remember:
During my second year of nursing school our professor gave us a quiz. I breezed through the questions until I read the last one: "What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?" Surely this was a joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times, but how would I know her name? I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Before the class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our grade. "Absolutely," the professor said. "In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say hello." I've never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy. ~Joann C. JonesI am also joining up with Life Unmasked for this one. Write a post, or post a picture or a poem that talks about how you really feel. Then join us over with Joy at Joy in this journey, to link up and share.