Well, it’s been one of those days which I’m sure we’ve all had—at least, if you’re the mom of a child with special needs. I’m in a “mood.” The van we picked up from the mechanic last night, supposedly repaired, is obviously not. Bryce and I are bouncing along the road with our van riding low, and not on purpose. I’m thinking evil thoughts about the repairman. I decide to stop at Goodwill on the way home, but I’m slamming doors and banging things around. You know—the “mood.”
Then, of course, there are ill-mannered children giving Bryce “the stare,” so I’m staring back. No. I’m glaring back. And their rude parents are also staring, and my “mood” is escalating. We’re looking at the movie section, and Bryce finds a cartoon version of “Last of the Mohicans” that, surprisingly, we don’t already have. While we’re looking at it, a man who appears to be in his fifties starts staring. In my current state of mind, I realize I’m about to blow.
So, I take a deep breath and silently pray that I can be Christ-like and lose the “mood.” The man is still staring, so I start talking to Bryce about which movie version of “Mohicans” is his favorite and how it compares with the book—you know, to show this man that my son knows a thing or two. We head towards the register to check out, and the man follows us. And he keeps staring.
I release a huge sigh and breathe another prayer for patience and kindness. I brace myself for the inevitable questions. The man asks, “Has he always been like this? Since birth?” Smiling through gritted teeth I say, “yes.” Then I tell him how happy we are with Bryce, how content he is, and that Bryce is an artist who sells his paintings for $185 each, thank you very much. Taking a breath from all my chatter which was meant to put him in his place, I ask the man if he knows anyone with a disability.
With tears welling up in his eyes, he tells me he does. He tells me how lucky Bryce is to have me—caring for him and loving him. My “mood” suddenly deflates. Completely. I couldn’t understand everything he said because of his accent, but we chatted for a while. I gave him my Joni and Friends business card and told him about our upcoming Square Dance. I told him to look us up online. He said he’d be in touch.
So now my “mood” is gone, replaced with one of repentance and gratitude that God might use me despite my self-centered thoughts. What have I learned, once again? That everyone who stares is not staring out of morbid, ill-bred curiosity, but possibly because of a compassionate heart, their own hurt, or who knows what other reason. God showed me that people are watching the way I respond, and that I need to show grace and compassion to everyone.
Lord, may I be more consistently Christ-like and not miss the opportunities you bring my way.