Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Boy in the Striped Sweater

Today I saw the light in the form of a bright rainbow striped sweater on a grown boy with special needs.  I don't know his particular condition, but I do know that while he was in church he perpetually jumped in place for minutes at a time and patted himself constantly.  He was very excited or excitable, he pulled repetitively at his brightly colored sweater and when he hugged his mother he smiled and smelled her hair and felt it on his face and she hugged him back every time and comforted him.  His mother was dedicated to teaching him when to stand, sit, kneel and when to do the sign of the cross, all the while trying to settle him and calm him and teach him.  His smile was constant- her patience seemed infinite.  He looked to be anywhere between 17 and 22 years old.  And I saw the light in their family.

Why did I need a boy with special needs in a striped sweater to jolt me?  I was in Philadelphia helping my LG move into her new life.  She is in transition- new city, new job (same company), new car, new commute.  We had just spent two days getting her settled.  There is some trepidation on her will I make it to New Jersey in the morning traffic?  Where will I park my car in this very crowded neighborhood I have chosen to live?  FYI- expensively and no where near your apartment!  How will I pay all my bills?  She thought getting out of NYC would more affordable!  Transitions are not easy.  So much is unknown.  These were the thoughts going through both of our minds for the last three days. 
To end my visit we went to church Sunday morning.  If I am ever lost or have lost perspective, church is a good place to find myself and my perspective.  I hoped it would do the same for my LG.  The church was stunningly beautiful!  It was only a few blocks from her apartment.  The music from the organ filled the building... and my heart.  Still Christmas music!  I had almost forgotten it was still Christmas!  Ahhh!   Time to refocus.  I felt at peace as soon as we knelt down.  Church does that to me.  It is a place for me to bring my fears, cares, worries and praises and leave them at the altar.  Let someone better equipped deal with them for me.  I thought I would tell my LG after mass that if she ever felt lost or lonely, church could be a place to stop in and have some quiet contemplation.  Then they walked in.  Mom, Dad and the boy in the striped sweater.  They were like a bright light... or a hammer that hit me in the head as if to say- loudly, excitedly, patiently, with a smile..."Quit your whining!  What are you so worried about? She has all the tools she needs to handle this transition."  It took a jumping rainbow striped sweater to open my eyes.  The Lord works in mysterious ways, we just have to be open enough to hear Him even if  sometimes He has to shout!  So, I left today with the comfort of knowing she will be just fine.  She may not feel fine every day but eventually her life will become routine again and this will all be a character building memory.  God bless the boy in the striped sweater.

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