Friday, March 6, 2009

Kindred Spirit

Before Austin began to walk, he wore orthotics called SMO's They are small braces that fit under his feet and stop just above the ankle bone. They supported his ankles and helped him keep his feet in the right position. At 18 months, his weak muscles and loose joints prompted Austin to roll his feet inward to find balance. The braces forced him to hold his feet in the right position and help train him to use the muscles properly. Made of plastic, we would occasionally have to have the braces adjusted as he grew. A technician uses a blow torch to soften the plastic then remold it to fit Austin's growing feet. It takes some time.

Locking a two year old up in a 'closet' exam room for 30 minutes or so is not easy. Several employees came to visit us to try to entertain Austin and keep his mind off the wait. As one young lady walked Austin down the hall holding one chubby hand, a young man, who walked with a slight limp and held his left hand close to his body, grabbed Austin's other hand. Off they went down the long hallway where 'Billy' was molding the braces. Jabbering away, Austin looked surprised when his new friend began imitating the sounds. Austin stopped and looked up at him. Then entranced, he reached up his arms to be picked up. Using one arm, the young man propped Austin on his hip and they continued to 'talk' to each other. Finally, with a big sigh, Austin laid his head on his friend's shoulder. Then, a few seconds later, leaned in close and gave his new friend a kiss.

I was floored. Austin doesn't do so well in a crowd or meeting new people. He's a bit shy and will avoid eye contact till he 'warms' up. But these two....made a heart connection.

I wish I'd had a picture of them, standing in the hallway ignoring the rest of us. There wasn't a dry eye in the office.

As Billy refitted Austin's braces, we discussed homeschooling. His wife is a high school teacher and is depressed about the number of students dropping out of school. Billy walked us out and in passing pointed out two of their employees who had continued their education even though they didn't graduate from High School. One of them was Austin's new friend. He came up to tell Austin goodbye and offer an explanation. "I was teased so badly in High School...I just didn't want to stay. But I'm in college now....married and soon to be a dad."

I admired him. I hope Austin will be like him. I hope that he will have vision, compassion and strength. Like his new friend, I hope Austin won't let the circumstances of his life stop him from achieving his dreams. That he won't let the cruelty of others rob him of compassion. And that he won't let physical frailty stop him from being strong.

"Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing." 1 Peter 3:8-9

Keep the Faith~ Amy


gillian said...

Amy, you write so well. Thanks, I needed a happy cry this morning.

It's a joy to follow your blog :).

Screaming Meme said...

You are an amazing writer...I really enjoyed it! Hi, My name is Meme from Screaming Meme...I want to personally invite you to a new blog I created...Project: {Create A Home}...It is a blog that I share with creative and inspiring women...The topics are from design to blogging knowledge to creating a inspiring life...

We are having our Grand Opening tomorrow...There are many giveaways and a HUGE giveaway that we will all be involved in! It is going to be amazing and fun! I hope you can stop in! Screaming Meme