How many “really good friends” do you have? I mean the kind of friend that knows you inside and out – and accepts you anyway! (Now that’s a special friend!) It’s so important to have those true friends you can trust, and who can relate with how your brain waves operate.
I’ve written before about how for a special needs child, true friends are really hard to come by. Why? Because, let’s face it, if you can’t understand what a person has to deal with on a day-to-day basis, it’s hard to relate. Just a fact of life…
Jeffrey was really saddened by the loss of his grandma (Mother’s Gone…), because besides my sister and her family, there really weren’t many people that Jeffrey could relate with. Plus, generally speaking, people really don’t know how to treat individuals who have special needs (believe me, I used to be one of them!).
Yes, there were some kids who genuinely cared for Jeffrey at his church (Jeffrey Joins In With His Church Friends), yet Jeffrey really didn’t have a friend with disabilities such as his own, who could really understand what he had to go through on a daily basis. But one day that changed, and as a parent, it was a joy to behold.
Previously Jeffrey had gotten involved in Special Olympics bowling (A Special Olympics Blessing), but one year we heard that Special Olympics was also going to start a track league, so we decided to try him in that, as well.
The league met at a local high school, and we were blessed beyond belief when we arrived to find that there was a girl a couple years younger than Jeffrey who was also in a wheelchair – and she also had cerebral palsy with almost identical issues that Jeffrey struggled with!
It turned out that Jeffrey and this cute young gal actually had been paired together a few different times in the past couple of years at school district activities so they had a little background history.
It was such a delight to watch as she and Jeffrey connected during track. It got to the point where they’d immediately start goofing off – just like regular young kids – by bumping their wheelchairs together and giggling uncontrollably. I was beyond ecstatic to see Jeffrey really having fun with another kid close to his age, and we ended up becoming friends with this young girl and her parents.
The regional track meets were held at Fort Lewis Army Base outside of Seattle, and since there were few athletes with wheelchairs, both Jeffrey and his new friend were invited to yearly tournaments.
The service men and women at the Base were outstanding around the special needs kids, and our hearts were filled with blessings at those who came out in their uniforms to yell and cheer for the athletes who ran (and wheeled) around the track (sometimes wandering off in the wrong direction!). Many took the time to personally greet the kids and give them hugs.
They also would put on a special carnival for the “special” kids during the event, and to watch the kids laugh and smile at being the center of attention for a weekend was a blessing that’s hard to forget.
As I write this I’m reminded of Mephibosheth, the lame son of King David’s best friend Jonathan (2 Samuel 4:4), who had died in battle. David had made a pact with Jonathan that he would always remember Jonathan’s family with kindness (1 Samuel 20:12-15).
A few years passed after Jonathan’s death, but King David remembered his promise to his friend, and welcomed Mephibosheth into his royal home as family: “And Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, [and] he always ate at the king’s table, and he was crippled in both feet” (2 Samuel 9:13 NIV).
It saddens my heart when I see people putting down those who serve in the military to preserve the freedom of the people. Because the majority of those serving truly do care about people and their country. They continually put themselves in harm’s way to protect us. The same goes for our faithful police officers and firefighters who are on-call 24/7 to be available when an emergency comes.
Sometimes I tend to forget all the wonderful people God has sent our way through the years. Why? Because I start to focus on my own crushed dreams. That’s why we all need to keep the Lord Jesus close to our hearts on a daily basis.
Because when you trust Him, he will turn your mourning into dancing, and your sadness into joy (Psalm 30:11). And He will surround you with people who love you and truly want your happiness.