12.08.2012

She could be my daughter...

It's amazing how God works on our hearts throughout our lives. Somewhat mysteriously, at times. You know the times I'm talking about- where you are holding on but waiting for something (anything) to make sense.

Nick started a job at a care facility as a CNA recently. He comes home and talks to me about all his residents and the funny things they say and the scary things that happen- and some of their stories... And I am subdued by each of them- like I know them personally after a week of these stories- so much so that I cry for them and I ache for their families.

We've seen a lot of this kind of care with our family recently, people getting older and families having no choice but to put them in full time care because they can no longer care for them alone. It's the most difficult part of life, almost so that I told Nick I don't ever want to go through it and I hope lethal injection is available by then. It's so hard on families to do it, and so hard on the people in the care.

One of the residents is a woman, about 30 years old. She is severely disabled, blind and cannot communicate. Her story will make you cringe, as it could happen to anyone.

She was left in her bathtub alone around three years old for too long. Who knows how long too long was, long enough for her to suffocate and have severe brain damage. She had no issues up until that day when her life and her families life was drastically altered forever.

Now, she cries most of the time- except when her family comes to see her. On that day, they brush her hair, they braid it, they talk to her, they make sure she is clean... and she knows she is loved on that day. She doesn't cry that day. Her family doesn't know this- that every day they don't come is full of her tears.

A girl who cannot communicate can communicate in the language that we all speak. Love.

On that day, she feels loved.

"That could be our daughter." I told Nick, tears in my eyes. "That could be anyone's daughter- in the blink of an eye."

Then, I pictured in my head a woman we met in Boston with a disabled child who she cared for at home- she said he didn't communicate but that she knew that he knew they were there. He knew he was loved. She kept him at home and had home care come for 10 hours a day to let them attend to their other child and other activities. They took him bike riding, they took him to the park and let him go through the fountains, and though he couldn't say it, they knew when he had a good day and when he had a bad day.

As I've reflected on that moment with Nick- that moment where that woman was my daughter- I realized how important God's love is in our lives. How important loving each other is.

We communicate love. Those words you say every day, mean nothing, if you aren't taking the time to communicate love in a tangible way to those around you. Nothing can thrive, no one can thrive, deprived of love.

This has been hard for me recently. Living a life focused around survival and feeling that my purpose was to my son's and no one else left my love language and my marriage both oddly worn down.

My love language, once so much more developed, has taken a beating over the years- and my heart has accepted that I cannot love everyone as much as I wish I could. I push and push with words and they get me no where unless I commit to loving someone where they are at.

Today, your love towards someone around them is going to make an impact on them that will not be visible to you. Accept that, and love them anyway. Make an effort to prove to someone that they are valuable and worthy of tremendous amounts of love. And if they don't respond, if you don't see it, it's not a failure.

The failure is when we stop trying to love- and we don't see the impact that has on those around us.

The people who go home without receiving or communicating love are like this girl on the days her family isn't there. She can't say love, she can't know why it is she feels so deprived of it... But without love, hope can't grow. Destiny can't be fulfilled. Promise can't be understood. Healing can't begin.

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