In true warrior fashion, Josh is going into battle today, a battle for understanding from his classmates. He had to write a poem a few weeks ago called ‘I wish’ and in the verses he said that he wished the kids would understand about his heart and what that means for him as he plays and tries to keep up. A good friend of ours who is also a teacher offered to go with him to do a presentation on his heart and stroke, what happened to him but also how that affects his daily life. Today he will stand, vulnerable in front of his class and talk about these things in a hope to gain empathy from his classmates.
I could not be more proud.
I have had a lot of people telling me to pull him from school, suggesting that he should have a break. Here is my thinking on this… please bare with me.
Life sucks. Kids can be mean. The playground is a harsh terrain where kids find out what they are made of and where they learn to overcome. Josh is and has always been a kid who overcomes. What he is learning through this painful process are resilience and fortitude. He’s also learning compassion, forgiveness, hope, and problem-solving.
Due to Josh’s stroke, he has very poor problem-solving skills but during this process, he managed on his own to figure out that maybe if the kids understood where he was coming from they would have more empathy. For him to figure this out on his own, and to work towards doing that is no small feat for him. This morning we talked about this and I told him how proud I was of him for solving the problem and he said ‘Im solving, it’s not solved. We don’t know yet if it will work.’ He is right of course, and now is the time to pray that it works, that at least one or two kids have their eyes and hearts opened to his situation and find it within themselves to be more patient, more loving, more open to being a friend to him. This is my prayer.
All that being said, the past few days as I have struggled to understand this reality that Josh is now facing I have become aware of a few things. He isn’t alone. God is with him on the playground, his brain is healing more and more every day, and my kid is one of the toughest, most resilient kids I have ever met. A friend wrote to me and said this: God needs soldiers and he is forming Josh right now. Josh is is in boot camp, the hardest part of training. He has brought your little man into an intimate relationship with him that is beyond what we can fathom, you’ve seen glimpses of this, let that be your comfort. Another friend wrote: He didn’t bring him this far to leave him there. These words have offered me a great amount of comfort and hope for our little man as he does battle with this depression. I don’t know what today’s outcome will be, but I know that no matter what happens I am so incredibly proud of him for being willing to stand in front of kids who haven’t been very kind and to share some of his most vulnerable feelings. It is kids like him that change the world.
We were never promised an easy life, I want God to have mercy on Josh, I want things to be easier for him, I want to see his joyful self back but I am also raising a child who is not my own but God’s and God loves him so much more than I do (as impossible as that seems to be); he knows the big picture and he is even now forming Josh in the man he needs to be for the future he has planned for him. Through all of this, I have to hold onto the promises God has given me, that he will do (and has already done) the impossible for Josh.
I could go through a list of ‘He will never’s’ that doctors and therapists have given me over the years but I prefer to list my own “He never list’
He never stops trying
He never lets someone tell him what he can’t do
He never stands down in the face of adversity
He never lets fear stand in his way
He never stops trying to be the best he can be
He never quits
There is more to this kid than most will ever know, more to him than even I know and that I am blessed to be his mom is something that still leaves me awed.
So please, say some prayers today as Josh heads into this new battle with our friend. Pray that the kids hear him, understand him, have mercy in their hearts for him, and that if nothing else they respect him for doing what he is doing, such an incredibly courageous and brave stand he’s making.