By Terri Pease
As I sit here at the computer screen contemplating what I should write my heart stutters. I say stutter because where does one begin to write of all the blessings of God?
Today is my youngest son’s birthday. His name is Nathan and he is seventeen years old today. The doctor told us when he was twenty one days old that he has Down’s syndrome. I say “the doctors say” because I have never accepted their label on my son. Yes, I know, “the blood doesn’t lie.” I just choose to believe in the Blood above all other blood. He is created in the image of God and last time I checked the Word, He, God, doesn’t have Down’s!
The last seventeen years has been an incredible journey of faith. We have met people I am sure we would have never met had we not been thrown into this world. We have met the brokenhearted as well as faith giants. We have met the extremely kind and unfortunately the not so kind.
One particular school year, when Nathan was very young, was extremely difficult. I seemed to have been fighting the entire school year. Less than compassionate teachers and even less than compassionate so called “teachers helpers” made our lives at times seem like a living hell. It took a great toll on my health and I was nearly exhausted. We needed a vacation and the mountains of Arkansas were calling our names. We loaded the kids up and went to explore northern Arkansas.
We visited Blanchard Springs, Arkansas. A very beautiful, deeply wooded, serene and peaceful place. There is a cave tourist can walk through. One starts on one side of the cave, walks inside the mountain an hour or so and exists outside the other side of the mountain. Upon exiting you board a bus and travel back to your starting point.
Once inside the cave we were instructed not to touch any of the fragile rocks and be really careful not to stray off the well-marked path. We also had to be quiet so everyone could hear our guide as he explained what we were seeing and hearing.
Anyone who knows our Nathan understands the challenge of the aforementioned requirements! My husband and I placed ourselves on either side of our little boy and pretended for a while, just a little while, we were a “normal” family enjoying an event other “normal” families do all the time. Of course he had to ooooh and aaah a few times. No one seemed to mind. Some actually smiled at him. One family pointed out to him a stalactite that looked like an elephant’s trunk then proceeded to make bugle noises like an elephant. This act of kindness delighted Nathan to no end!
By the time we made it out to the other side we were all very tired. In the light of the day I was able to see the sweet family that had made the elephant noises. They smiled and waved at us. There was a group of six or seven tourists from France. One of them patted Nathan on the head and smiled. Another stranger nodded and gave a short wave as we all boarded the school bus for the return journey.
Once the bus was underway all was quiet for a few moments. A small sweet voice started singing, “The wheels on the bus goes round and round, round and round, round and round. The wheels on the bus goes round and round all through the town.” I looked down at Nathan and just before I could shush him the French family picked up the song and began to sing. Soon the whole bus was singing with Nathan taking the lead! My heart just burst with the kindness of those sweet strangers. My soul was refreshed and renewed hope for mankind restored.
It was just a little moment in the great scheme of things I guess, but it is with a grateful heart I praise God for those little moments. One of my greatest and most treasured blessings is my son Nathan.