different, out of the norm, or has some type of special need is
faced with a grief to be felt and a gift to be cherished.
The Grief...
Looking around at other “normal” families, our families are
somehow out of step. There is a complexity that though not
always seen by the casual observer is still very much a reality.
It can show itself in many, many places. We may not be able to
fully participate in some of the regular things of life such as
certain social events, school activities, or faith communities.
Sometimes simple but crucial things like an uninterrupted
night of rest are out of reach. Spontaneity is often stifled and
desires put aside as we strive to be realistic and constantly
mindful of healthy limits and boundaries for both ourselves
and our children. And each individual family finds themselves
somewhere along this “out of sync” continuum.
The Gift…
Living life with a child that demands we march to the beat of
a different drummer is indeed a gift. It is like going to the
school of what really matters. It is a crash course in getting over
pleasing other people. If embraced, this new perspective
quickly leads to a far less judgmental stance toward others. We
are acutely aware that we never truly know what is under the
behavior of that screaming child in the grocery store or that
teenager who is “acting out.” We are wise to surrender to a
much slower pace of life, which then offers the chance to live
in a space of authentic presence and peace. We are entrusted a
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