When Nathan first attended his social group his teacher said her biggest concern was that he refused to interact with the other students and was only interested in talking to the adults in the room. Now, Nathan has made friends and his best friend there is Alex.
Now, without further delay I am going to tell you what happened at Greenwood Hills these last few days. I wanted to write about this yesterday but I didn't have access to my computer then.
We were able to attend the second family camp at Greenwood Hills from Wednesday night through Saturday afternoon. My parents were there since my dad was one of the speakers.
There was a little boy named Andrew there with his family. Andrew is five years old just like Nathan. He is a precious little boy. But unlike Nathan, Andrew can not run. Andrew can not walk. Andrew can not talk. He has spinal bifida.
Below is a picture of Nathan with his friend, Andrew.
Nathan went up to Andrew and talked to him. He said, "Mom, Andrew doesn't talk to me."
I told Nathan that Andrew talked to him in other ways. "When Andrew looks at you it means he is listening to what you are saying. When Andrew smiles it means he likes what you are saying to him." That was all it took. Every day, several times a day, Nathan went right up to Andrew and would talk to him. He asked questions and showed Andrew where he was missing his two front teeth.
Nathan sincerely enjoyed spending time with Andrew and his family. And in these last few days at camp I watched something beautiful unfold between the two of them. Maybe Andrew could not speak in sentences but he spoke volumes. I watched on the last day as Andrew's parents finished packing. They put Andrew in the foyer and every single person who walked by Andrew stopped to tell him hello or say something to him. And I watched their faces and I saw them smile. Andrew, dear, precious Andrew, without saying a word was bringing joy to people.
His parents were wonderful. They always were smiling and always looked happy. I loved to watch the way Andrew would respond to his mom. When he got noisy she'd tap his leg and he'd calm right down.
So I said on facebook that yesterday Nathan was breaking my heart in all the best ways and that he made me cry. But these were tears of both joy and absolute heartache. After spending several days with Andrew, Nathan had really become attached to him. Other children seemed to be nervous and unsure around Andrew but not Nathan.
Some people might say, "Nathan is broken! He has Aspergers. There is something wrong with him!"
I've come to realize it's people like Nathan and Andrew who we should try to be more like. Don't get me wrong. Nathan had some challenges at camp. We had a complete meltdown at the pool and he had a meltdown in the Annex over a basketball game. It was hard. But there is a quality that Nathan possesses that few others do. Nathan hold no prejudice of any sort. Everyone is his friend. Everyone is someone to be talked to and socialized with. It's beautiful really. Nathan sees past what other's fear.
And some might angrily cry out, "How could God do that to Andrew? How could God leave him unable to talk and walk?!"
Do not miss the beauty of a little boy like Andrew. Remember how I told you how everyone who walked by him stopped to say hello and they smiled! Smiled! Andrew brings joy to people without ever saying a word to them.
Now to tell you something Nathan said that made me cry when I took my shower that night. Nathan said, "Mom, I am going to pray every day that God will teach Andrew to walk." I told Nathan how proud I was of him and how happy Andrew would be to know that he was praying for him. And later in my solitude I gave into the emotions and I wept hard in the shower. I prayed for Andrew and his family and I thanked God for my sensitive little boy. I also asked God to help me have more faith like a child's. It was an emotional week as well since we have just surpassed the weeks in my pregnancy that we lost baby #3. And I thanked God for baby #4 who thus far is growing well and doing ok!
Nathan has no doubt that praying for Andrew and asking God to help him walk will do just that. He has no fears, no misgivings, no doubt at all in God's ability to teach Andrew to walk. Later when I talked to Chris I said, "What if we all prayed like that? What if we all started to pray with no doubts in God's ability? What if we prayed with child like faith? No science or facts or books to sway our thoughts or make us doubt. Can you imagine what would happen?"
Maybe boys like Nathan and Andrew are not broken like the world would like to think. Maybe it's the rest of us who are broken and when we pray and ask for something we begin to doubt even as the words leave our lips.
Nathan laughed with absolute joy when I told him how one day, no matter what happened here on earth, that in heaven Andrew's body would be perfect. He would not need his wheelchair and Nathan would see him running down the streets of gold. Nathan was thrilled. His response? "Mom, when I get to heaven I am going to find Mr. Tim (taught the kid's meetings) and Andrew and give them a high five on the street of gold."
"But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint." Isaiah 40:31