Sunday, October 4, 2015

On Saying the Wrong Thing

Tonight, I am recycling some of a post I wrote in 2013.

I have been sharing, on my Facebook, some of our thoughts and experiences on Down Syndrome Acceptance/Awareness Month.

Or, as I like to say, "The Month of Joshua's People."

My post yesterday was not to beat down on the church-lady who made the unkind comment to me. She was a sad lady, who was blunt like that to EVERYONE. Plus, if I was going to point a finger at her, I'd have 3 fingers pointed right back at me. Did your momma teach you that, too?

After I had Joshua, I can't even tell you the comments that came my way. The people who made them were (usually) completely innocent of any malice.

Like the time I was at the store with Joshua, before his heart surgery. He had his surgery at 3 months of age, so if this was before that...he was young. He was very skinny, and his skin was a grayish color...because he was very sick. HENCE THE NEEDED SURGERY. He was so pale, but he had this cute, stickin' up hair and these big, dark eyes. I had dressed him in the cutest outfit. I was clearly smitten with him.

This older lady came up to me, when I was in the check-out line. She looked at Joshua, and said, "he's not right, is he?"

I thought about getting all up in my feels, but honestly...who has the energy for that all the time? Plus, this lady was old-school, I could tell...and she seemed genuinely concerned for Joshua.

If it's my desire to educate others about Down Syndrome, and show off the awesomeness that is Joshua, and it is, I need to be careful in my responses to people. Because I welcome questions...most of us do.

So, I took a deep breath and told her, "no, he is not."

I'd like to say that I have always responded to everyone with grace, but that would not be true. I believe there ARE times to be bold and speak up. Before Joshua's open-heart surgery, I asked for a Resident to be removed from his team. She did not share the same value of LIFE that we had. I found this out when she was questioning me about my pregnancy...did we know about Joshua's diagnosis before birth (no, we did not)?

She said, "that's too bad, because if you had known beforehand, you could've done something about it."

Which, she meant, that we could've done something about HIM.

Oh, no ma'am.

I was sending Joshua back for a very serious surgery, and I had to know that everyone on his team was ON HIS TEAM...that they realized the worth and value of every child...that they would fight for him...that they would do their best by him...and that they would see him as a CHILD, and not as a disability.

It was one of the bravest things I've ever done in my life, because she was a doctor...but I was a mom.

We've also heard some funny comments along the way, too. Like the nursery worker who told me about Joshua, "he's not half bad!" Jim and I got tickled over it, and wondered which half she was talking about!

Another lady said that if Joshua had Down Syndrome, he must just have a "touch of it."

Somewhere along the way, God reminded me of GRACE...and gave me this mantra: MOST PEOPLE MEAN WELL.

They really do. Show them GRACE. Try to relax. They are trying to reach out to you in their own way. They just get nervous in the face of tragedy or loss, or things they don't know about...and they'll say the wrong thing, when all they really want to do is to make things better. If you snap back at them, you may lose an opportunity to show God's love to them...or to accept God's love FROM them.

Sometimes, I'm the one who says the wrong thing at the wrong time, because I'm just trying to help...and I hope they get that message, even if I bungle up the words.

And I hope they know that I mean well.

"I will give thanks to You for I am fearfully and wonderfully made..." Psalm 139:14

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