Thursday, March 2, 2017

What Can We Learn? (A Tale of Waxing and Autism)

Fact: I have the best conversations in the most unusual places.


Like that time I went to see my gynecologist for my annual checkup. I was sitting on the exam table in that poor excuse for a hospital gown (they call it a drape when they should call it a napkin) and that awful paper sheet (that barely covers your bits), when my doctor came rushing into the room in a fluster and a flurry. She preceded to tell me that the reason why she was running late to see her patients was NOT because she had to deliver a baby, but rather because she had to take a call from her son's elementary school. Apparently, her husband had packed their son's school lunch. And what he thought was a granola bar was actually a "brick" of bird seed. For a bird feeder. The school wanted to know if little "Johnny" was, in fact, supposed to be eating bird seed for lunch.

"Ugh! My husband...," my doctor said, as she flung her hands heavenward, "he is so stupid!"

And then there was that time when I was attending school at Utah State and living with a house full of girls. One morning I had to use the bathroom so badly I was dancing in the hallway. Unfortunately for me, my roommate was in the shower. The other bathroom in the house was also occupied. So I did the only thing a girl about to pee her pants could do and went right on in. I sat on the toilet while my roommate shampooed her hair behind a solid, brightly-floral shower curtain.

We talked about the guy she was dating. Gorgeous, but surprisingly inept when it came to kissing.

"Seriously, like a dog," she said above the spray of the water. "Like, too much licking my face."

Recently, I had the best conversation with my lovely friend who is also my...waxer? Waxist? Wax woman? You get the idea.

I was lying on her table, talking about my life and my kids and all my current happenings, while she proceeded to rip the hair out of my body. (Guys, she's actually reeeeeallly amazing at what she does.) Our conversation eventually drifted to Camren and how he was doing in school. (Side note: What I positively love about my "wax woman" is that she always asks about Cam. Because she sincerely cares, and because she sincerely wants to know.)

I proceeded to lament to her about our current struggles--he hates the subtraction portion of his math homework, he struggles to "play nice" and "take turns" at recess, etc. But then I shared with her our most painful challenge of all: A family in our neighborhood who was blatantly avoiding us because of their discomfort with Cam's disability. It was crushing to my spirit and devastating to my overtly sensitive self. I felt frustrated and sad.

And that was when my insightful friend said something to me that was so beautiful and so resonating it restored a fraction of hope to my heart.

"Camren has a lot to learn," she said. "He has a lot to learn from all of us. How wonderful that those of us who get to interact with him get to help him learn all he needs to learn. We can guide him along. But you know what? He was sent to this earth to be the teacher too. It is a blessing to be able to be around him. We have so much we can learn from him."

AH! FRIENDS! It was EXACTLY what I needed to hear at exactly the right moment! Something clicked inside my mind and I knew...I just knew...that my friend spoke truth. Bright and beautiful truth. Powerful and fortifying truth. I let her words sink into my soul while she tweezed and snipped and plucked!


What can we learn from Cam? Or from children like my brown-eyed boy? We can learn about patience and tolerance. Through their examples, we can learn what it means to work hard and to fight for success. We can learn about the importance of celebrating strength and supporting another. We can come to more fully appreciate the things we've been blessed with. Education. Medicine. Family. Faith.

From Cam, we can learn about acceptance. We can learn to be silly! We can learn about God. We can learn to laugh and to see the good in all things.

But more than that...


We can learn about love.
Wonderful and without-condition love!


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