Fridays are my favorite day of the week. My Fridays are like everyone else’s Saturdays because Sunday’s a workday for me. Most often Friday is a day of pure hedonism. No makeup! Jeans and a hoodie! Just enough chores so that I can enjoy hanging around the house! Crafts, baking, a little shopping!
Today, though, has taken something of a detour.
This week, a family I’ve known and worked with for years experienced the death of the child they adopted a few years ago. Eight years old when he died, David was born with very serious birth defects. We all knew from the time he joined their family and our larger church family that we would never get to see David grow up. But this very special family (consisting of two parents, two birth children, and three adopted children) dedicated the last few years of their lives to making sure David was loved, happy, safe, and as comfortable as they could make him. In return, he gave them much love and joy.
He also gave our congregation the opportunity to share, to love, and to grow. It’s not always easy to have a severely disabled person in your midst. There are honest questions from small children, darted glances from curious or shocked adults (not only was David in a wheelchair, but his skin color was not the same as most of the rest of his family), puzzled faces when loud, strange noises issue from a small, twisted-up person in the chair at the end of the pew. David’s presence in our community allowed us the chance to be better people, to reach beyond our comfort zone and offer acceptance and belonging.
Before I even got out of bed this morning, I had a Facebook message from David’s mom, taking me up on my offer of a meal whenever they needed it. So my grocery list, my meal plan, and my plans for the day took a little detour. It’s a tiny thing, but it’s something I can do. I’m only one of many, many people in our community reaching out to offer comfort and support as they say goodbye to their youngest.
I’m thankful for this family who joyfully took on a challenge I’m not capable of. And I’m thankful to be able to be a small part of their healing.