Monday, July 7, 2014

Singing a Different Song

Photo image courtesy of almgren via

Allow me to share a brief story: about a week ago I attended a graduation party for one of my close friends. Half way into the festivities, one of the guests began to play a Korean-pop song from her phone, of which I knew the lyrics by heart. I began to sing with the song and was eventually stopped as one of the guests inquired, “How can you sing like that? I can hardly sing in English!” Her comment had struck me as quite odd; it was sincerely hard for me to understand.
In truth, I listen to foreign music far more often than I do English and would even be so bold as to say I prefer such alien tongues, as opposed to the modern music played on radio stations and iPods across the nation. It’s been years since I’ve developed this taste, which has given me years to study and memorize the lyrics. In the case of most Asian music, I tend to hear the lyrics as fluidly as I would understand English: it is for these reasons that the party guest’s comment had confused me. For the life of me, I could not understand why the words in Korean made so much sense to me when such words to her were, well, foreign.
Living in a household with two special siblings, misunderstandings of this same nature are something I tend to encounter often; it’s difficult for me to understand how my sister with Asperger’s finds school to be so unbearable when it registers so easily with me. It’s difficult to understand why she doesn’t understand self-control or common sense when such subjects appeal so naturally to me. It’s difficult to comprehend why she has no concept for monetary conservation, or why her and my brother’s instances of misbehavior are excused as them “misunderstanding” their actions: in these instances, my instincts tell me to behave as a model human being, as I feel they should too. 

As their older sister, it’s hard for me to see the two of them represented by their special needs--all I see is their potential capabilities as average people. I tend to not recognize what sets them apart from the typical child and become frustrated when the two of them claim to be incapable of reaching the standards that everybody around them is able to achieve. I become tired of the “excuses” they toss around to their superiors and peers.  However, in the eyes of God, their claims do not stand as excuses or crutches for misbehavior, but rather as different gifts. 

See, in opposition to the average person’s views, perceiving their disorders as burdens or a road-block in one’s life, the Lord sees every action executed by the special people in our lives as the gifts He has given them to further his kingdom, His glory, and the God-inspired joy within us. Though their mannerisms, their absurd actions and lifelong struggles may be confusing to us, the parents and siblings of such unique individuals, we are called to learn and teach others that these people have been granted the gifts which God has suited best for them in their lives. 

Parents, it’s hard to help your “normal” child understand why their lives seem so wildly different from their sibling’s lives, but what is important is to allow the whole family be aware of the gifts of the Lord that set them apart from each other. For the children in the family without special needs, it may be a gift for them to excel in mathematics, and for others in the family it may be a gift that they are able to add two-plus-two. For some it is a gift to be able to share hours of their lives through community service, and for others it is a gift for them to learn to share their toys without a fight. For some it is a gift to be able to sing the words in Korean, and for others it is a gift beyond compare to be able to hum what lyrics were meant to be in English.

PRAY: Father, help us to see that our differences and our difficulties, are of divine perfection in the eyes of Christ. Help us to understand each others circumstances and that no two are alike.

~ Alexandra Dittrich


  1. It's great hearing your perspective. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Amen! God gave each of us special gifts. God has a plan for each of us. It is NOT a mistake. We all need to learn to appreciate and see others through the eyes of Christ. I have a sister with special needs, and she has taught us all much during her lifetime. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Thanks for sharing your perspective as a sibling. I hope you'll be back often!