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« 2010—Something Better | Main | Becoming Real »

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Thick Glass

SNBlogThickGlass

One of the realities of raising a neurologically disabled child is what I call “thick glass.”

Thick glass is the clear yet mostly impenetrable divider between a parent’s unconditional love for his or her child and the child’s seeming total lack of response—that disheartening vacant look. Parents grieve behind thick glass, ever longing to touch their child’s heart yet wondering if their reach gets through. But just as God touches our souls, I believe communion continues far beyond the spoken word or outward response, even if the outward expression seems unmoved. I am confident of this.

I recall one “nothing-special” day when I encountered thick glass. But because of my belief that my son Jon knows I love him, that opportunity challenged me once again to reach through the glass, however thick. Love is an unconditional expression, a gift given without expectation of any “thank you” note in return. On this “nothing-special,” priceless day, I peered into his eyes and said over and over: “I LOVE YOU! I love you, Jon. I love you inside and out. I LOVE everything about you. I cherish you. I LOVE YOU, LOVE YOU, LOVE YOU!!!” Out of the clear-blue sky, Jon whispered back to me, “Mommy, I love you.” I almost fainted. In that brief moment of time, the thick glass shattered.

I often wonder if God experiences my thick glass. My expressions to Him may appear vacant and I show no outer appearance of communing with Him, yet He persistently reaches out, showering me with His unconditional love, His cherishing of my soul. God doesn’t see thick glass; He only sees a child He loves. Can you hear His words of love? Can you hear Him calling your name? “(your name), I love you. I LOVE YOU ________! I love you ________! ________, you are my treasure! I LOVE YOU ________, inside and out! I LOVE everything about you ________! I cherish you ________! I LOVE YOU, LOVE YOU, LOVE YOU ________!!! His grace is amazing, how sweet the sound. He LOVES YOU!

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Thanks, Colleen, for sharing this. :)

Penny, Blessings to you. Keep reaching through!
Colleen

My little guy is blind, nonverbal, non ambulatory...so we get no words, no hugs but some how there is a connection, we cannot always find that connection but when we do, we savor the moment.

As for me with God, it is not just thick glass but my thick head!

Thank you for sharing.

http://braydenandmommy.blogspot.com/

Dear Carrie, I often wonder how the Lord continually, relentlessly, jealously, and compassionatly finds a way to reach me. Though we can't see Him or speak the same language...He bridges the connection because He cherishes us. As you cherish Brayden, so God-though at times may appear silent or absent-He will never give up on reaching you, Carrie. Thanks for sharing your words. Colleen

As a special needs teacher, I cannot tell you how very important repetition is to your child. Continue saying and showing I love you, often! Continue insisting that your child does the best they can do, at whatever level that might be. I have worked with every level of special needs child and I can tell you that the children that progress the most and are the most secure are the parents that did not give up, but insisted their child obey their parents (at what ever level was realisitic)do they best they could and did not make excuses for inappropriate behavior.

Deborah, okay, I'll try to stay off my 'soap box'. I love your comments... Notice your words, "I have worked with every level" and "parents that did not give up". Not one word suggests the infliction of pain. So why are so many parents angered when the child doesn't change and yet they have never involved themselves with teaching the desired behavior and how to get there? Parents, expect your child to be confused and difficult if you choose NOT to teach them what is right and good and praiseworthy. Example: Lets consider learning to spell. Let's pretend the teacher instructs us on how NOT to spell the word. The focus is on all the wrong ways to spell-what NOT to do, then painfully reinforces the mispelling of the word; has anything been taught? Well, YES...how to get confused and angry when attempting to spell. The love you are speaking of requires involvement, teaching the way to go, kindness, and affirmation of the child along the way. It is befuddling to me when a teacher or parent focuses on what isn't desired and never imparts what is expected. "I love you, I love you, I love you"...let's work towards what is right together.

Thank you for this. I had a thick glass day yesterday with my baby. I do "know" that it gets through but some days a extra push in towards the right frame of mind helps.

You are so right, Belinda! It's a day to day thing. It's such an encouragement to know you are NOT alone. Please write any time you need that reminder. I will be thinking of you for the rest of the day. Your friend, Colleen

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