Sticks and Stones and Empathy {A Snapshot of Rearranged}. ~ The Grace Between

Sticks and Stones and Empathy {A Snapshot of Rearranged}.

Hello dear friends. I have been quiet lately. Real life is swallowing up all that I have to offer at the moment. I will be back soon – this week even … I have pages of notes on my iPhone hastily typed during nursing sessions. So, soon, I hope. In the meantime, please welcome my friend Miriam from A Rearranged Life. She is one of the race that knows Joseph, a heart friend who loves me enough to tell me the truth always. I asked her to write about Army life, but she has a bigger story to tell, that we ALL need to hear. {And she was with me in the hotel room}. Stick around. Read her stories. She, her family, they have taught us to SEE. 

{Photo taken and owned by Miriam @ A Rearranged Life}. 

Sticks and stones and gifts of words have come our way.  My boy has a type of CP that causes wild uncontrollable movements.  He hears with a cochlear implant, and he struggles to speak, but at best he can utter noises.  There is much opportunity for staring, kindness, inquiry, wonder, ignorance, and avoidance.

We’ve run into the gammit, and we are early in the game. I’ll never forget the day in the park when my boy first got a balloon.  His movements wild, a woman stood there with her jaw in the grass.  She seemed frozen in time, gaping at my boy.  My motherly instinct nearly choked me.

She saw the oddity.

I saw a little boy – my little boy.

I finally asked her if there was something wrong and walked away. (This still does happen, and depending upon the circumstance, I stare back with a smile, say hello, tell them that it doesn’t hurt to smile, ask them if they are okay, or ask if something is wrong…there’s no telling what will come out.)

We are an altogether touchy group, we families and individuals affected by broken bodies.  Sometimes we are like the wounded animals that we are, and there isn’t any easy route of approach.  Grief can weigh heavy.  It can build walls.  But I promise you, they are walls worth scaling!

A couple years later I was sitting in a lobby with my chatty 3-year-old – Emmie. A woman sits 3 chairs away, and M declares, “She is too big!”  {Could someone please make us disappear?!?!  PLEASE!!}  I apologized and the lady seemed unharmed…but who can tell?  She was very large and I’m sure it was no easy journey.

Ironically I had just read a chapter in Clay Trumbull’s “Child Training” dealing with this subject, and our own book was also being written as we incurred hard words and stares in from children in our own social circle.

As we got in the car, I wanted to cry.  I could feel both sides of this thing, and I also wanted to feed a curious young mind and not cultivate an ignorance of the obvious.  By God’s grace, I was able to explain:

  • Some words hurt other people.
  • No questions are off limits, but when words can hurt others around, they need to be asked of us later, in private
  • That we need to focus on what we have in common, not the differences, even though the differences often shout louder
  • Jesus asks us to treat others as we want to be treated, so we must think about how our words make them feel. We must build them up, not tear them down.

To put it in one word, I was learning to prize empathy.  I was beginning to tread in this area where there is a certain learning, a higher level of learning that is only acquired in obedience to God’s word…in serving others, in washing feet.

As Christians, what do we prize most in Christian education?  Is it doctrine, or is it living walking breathing faith?

What good is it if our kids know all the right answers, yet are the first to “walk on the other side of the road” when someone lies in need of their help?  (Keep in mind that they may seem courteous in front of their parents and refuse to go beyond their comfort level when outside of your sight.)  How do we raise children that are “Doers of the word and not hearers only?”

The answer from where I sit:

We venture into the land where LOVE STINKS…where it’s uncomfortable.  We put the books aside, we hear Jesus say GO…and we go.  We turn off all the alerts on our phone, we uninstall whatever social media apps are eating away our ability to see others.  We look deep.  We love well.  We stop and help someone when it’s not easy and we teach our kids to see THE PERSON within, not the differences on the outside.  We feed their curiosity and teach them about the beauty within the 8 year old child that just somehow pooped inside the play place at the restaurant…because we don’t know his story, but we know that he is LOVED.  We get dirty and we go where we don’t want to and we make mistakes and we love lavishly because we are lavishly loved.

{Editor’s note: her son suffered an attack of jaundice at birth that went ignored and untested by doctors, resulting in a condition called Kernicterus, of which the CP is just one of many symptoms. IT IS COMPLETELY PREVENTABLE. To learn more about how to STOP KI, start here.}


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