Monday, May 5, 2014

It's not like he has leprosy. Should that even matter though?


photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net by rakratchadatorsap

“In one of the villages, Jesus met a man with an advanced case of leprosy.  When the man saw Jesus, he bowed with his face to the ground, begging to be healed. …. Jesus reached out and touched him…..And instantly the leprosy disappeared.”  Luke 5:12-13  NLT

Every mom wants it.  Often it’s especially hard for your child to have one when they have a condition that makes life more challenging for various reasons.  


One that isn’t just an acquaintance or a friend when it’s convenient.  One of those friends that will tell your child when their being stupid, but still love them anyway.  Just one friend.  They already have so much to deal with.  Can't a good friend come along?  Is that too much to ask for?


David had many “friends”.  Sometimes he didn’t treat them very well.  Sometimes he left them by the wayside for a while.  Many didn’t really understand Borderline Personality Disorder and soon ran when the symptoms would present themselves. Some of those that ran would return, but many never came back.  He had many “friends”, but usually felt so alone.  Fortunately, he had a few true blue friends.  Unfortunately, his condition often caused him to alienate them.  I am so thankful for those friends that stuck with him even when he sometimes didn’t stick with them.

One such friend was Matt.  Matt never gave up on David.  When everyone else was jumping ship he was always there, always available, always ready to jump back in if David would call upon his support and friendship.  When David’s illness was manifesting itself in some nasty ways, Matt took it in stride.  He was gracious and kind even when faced with rejection at times.  


I thought of this recently when I was listening to someone at a church describe how they didn’t want their child hanging out with “that girl” because she was a patient at a local mental health hospital and had been on suicide watch and was a cutter.  Oh no!  God forbid that your child hang out with someone that is dealing with those issues in life.  Their child didn’t have any of these concerns in their life and seemed pretty well adjusted.  It was painful to listen to and brought back similar memories.  I can understand that some kids can’t or shouldn’t be close to certain people because of their own weaknesses like not wanting to hang out with someone that will cause them to probably stumble.

However, there are many others that have a diagnosis that doesn’t fall into the category of “This person is not good for me to hang out with.  I am so thankful for those kids that, like Matt, took the time to really be a friend.  I know many special needs kids just want to have a friend.  They don’t want others to treat them like they have leprosy even if they do have “leprosy”.  They want a friend that will touch their life. They want a friend like Matt.


I know David faired a whole lot better when he was hanging out with friends that were a good example too.  Matt had a way of bringing out the best in David.  His symptoms were less severe when he was around him.  Friendship is good medicine.


I urge parents to pray for these good friends for your child and to look for opportunities for these relationships to form.   If anyone reading this has a “normal” kid, I encourage you to pray for your child to befriend one of these kids.

Pray:  Lord, Bring a good friend to my child.  Bring one that will love my child even when they aren’t being very loveable. Lastly, guard my child from “friends” that aren’t really friends and the hurt that comes from these relationships. 



4 comments:

  1. Great post! Thanks, Ann! AND, I believe we now know that leprosy isn't contagious! The kind of rejection and lack of heart you describe IS contagious sadly!

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    1. So true Ann H. I know I have fallen into this trap to "protect" my child. Much of it was out of ignorance and fear. These kids are so in need of a friend.

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  2. Friendship for all of us is so important. I often find myself doing nearly all of the work connecting my 18yo special needs daughter to her friends. I get impatient and annoyed always being the one to plan activities, do the driving, pay for it, etc. But, it's so worth it. Our kids need friends and we need to know they have friends!

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  3. Kerith, It can get tiring at times, but I agree that is worth it.

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