Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me."
"You very are, what?" This inserting of very into her statements is a new one - apparently she feels she needs some extra emphasis.
"Leader," she answered, "Youth ministry - I very am," and she showed me the church bulletin insert that she had filled out. The insert for Mission Sunday. She had checked every box and filled in every line. She'd even checked off the box that said she couldn't attend - and she'd written in homebound plants for Pathways etc.
She pointed to the line for her name. "I told you remember. I very am." And I saw where she had put leader.
Who can argue with that?
I was always charmed by the inclusion of Chris Burke in the show Touched By An Angel. He's an actor who has Down Syndrome - like my daughter - and he played the part of one of God's angels in the show. Why not? He's written a book - an autobiography. I read it when my daughter was young. She's 22 now. He wrote that he'd always wanted to be an actor. His parents corroborated - telling about his scriptwriting and play-acting from a young age.
They got me at scriptwriting. I just couldn't see it - creative writing - was just way beyond anything I saw my daughter or any of her friends doing. Not to say I didn't believe it - I just thought Chris must be one of those exceedingly high-functioning individuals with Down Syndrome. He actually decided to call it Up Syndrome, because he didn't like the connotation of Down.
My daughter, on the other hand, has been pegged by cognitive evaluations in the moderate range - numerous times. She can be difficult to understand - beside creative vowels and consonants and stuttering - she drops morphemes - those little bits of meaning that define tense and possession. She sometimes gets her pronouns confused. She changes syntax - oftentimes using a subject-object-verb order - I call it Yoda-speak.
You have to listen. You have to have context. You have to want to know what she's saying because it's going to take a little effort. But she helps out. In the past year, she has begun using more synonyms when I don't quite understand a word. Those pronouns are almost always right. She's picking up on some word endings that she used to skip. She has started bringing out papers and written copy - pointing to words to prove her point. Like leader.
Imagine having to use everything you can think of just to communicate one simple message - saying it, writing it, using synonyms, telling stories, acting it out. I wonder that I wouldn't give up - the effort outweighing the thought. Thankfully, thankfully thankfully, Jesus didn't give up. He presented his Message in every way possible - even by dying - so that we would receive it.
He is the Truth, the Life, and the Way. He very is. Who can argue with that.
Thank you, Father, for my daughter, who teaches me. Thank you, for Jesus, who never gave up teaching us.
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