Sunday, May 19, 2013

Brock at Twenty-Eight

On this date twenty-eight years ago I went to bed early. My wife Jeanette had told me that she felt certain that before the night was over we would be making a trip to Springfield, IL for the delivery of our second child. So I slept as the signs of her labor began to develop. She awoke me about midnight. After entrusting Jeremy, our oldest child, into the care of Olyta Hazelwood we made the trip to Memorial Medical Center. There at 6:06 A.M., May 20, our second child, Brock, was born. I had no idea how much his birth would shape my life. Or perhaps I should say I had no idea how much his life would shape my life.

Brock is autistic. He is a man today. In fact he is a big man. He is Six feet tall, weights over 200 pounds, has a big appetite, and a big personality. He lives with us and is under our watch care. Caring for Brock has changed the scope of my life. In one sense it has placed some limits on life. There are some things I cannot do and some things I must do differently because of him. But those limits have added other dimensions to my life. I view the world through different prisms because of Brock. Brock has not narrowed my world but he has broadened my world. Brock enables me at times to see life from his perspective. When that happens I see a much simpler world that is free from hatred and prejudice and struggles for power. Maybe that is why Brock always seems happy.

God in His sovereignty entrusted Brock to Jeanette and I. We have learned to rejoice in the gift God has entrusted us with. We love Brock and he returns that love to us in many ways. Each day Brock teaches us how to find satisfaction in the simple things of life. Brock delights in going to church.  He enjoys singing and at times sings boisterously. Tonight, in our evening worship service Brock and Jeanette were sitting on the second row. Instead of sitting on the platform I was sitting on the front row directly in front of Brock. We were singing and Brock was singing right into my ear. I closed my eyes and just listened as Brock sang the repetitive praise song: “God is so good…He cares for me…I love Him so…I praise His name…He’s so good to me”. Yes indeed – twenty-eight years ago God sure was good to me.


Sunday, May 12, 2013

To Brent - with Love, Mother

When I graduated from high school my mother presented me with a poem she had written about me and for me. It is a long poem composed of fifteen 4 line rhyming verses honed in perfect meter. It is a poetic synopsis written from my mother’s perspective of the first eighteen years of my life. It notes, sometimes with interpretive detail, the important events and passages of my life from the time I was born until I graduated from high school. I am sure my mother labored hard writing the poem, giving careful thought to what she wanted to say and was precise with the wording. I am equally sure it was a labor of love.

Upon completion of the poem she enlisted someone who had abilities in calligraphy to copy the poem on fine parchment and then had it encased in a nice frame and presented it to me as a gift. This kind of gift was typical of my mother. I received it with politeness and with words of thanks. But I am sure I probably thought it was a little silly and I did not show it off to many people. Over the years however I have displayed the poem in a place of prominence in my office and ever now and then I would read it. I read it again this week which is probably the first time I have read it in five or six years. I noted that the ink on the parchment is becoming faded and told myself that I needed to preserve the poem in some other format so the legacy of my mother’s thoughts would not be lost.

I preached this morning from Psalm 121 which speaks of the watch care of the Lord in our lives. It says the Lord preserves our going out and our coming in from this time forth and even for evermore. The psalm reminded me of my mother’s poem. For 18 years she had watched my going out and my coming in and she had recorded the events with remarkable accuracy. The last verse of her poem was an admonition to walk with God – to allow God to oversee my going out and my coming in. So in my sermon I showed the congregation the framed copy of my mother’s poem, told the story behind it, noted its purpose and challenge. But I did not read the poem. But some of my congregants requested that I read it tonight and so I did.

I am glad I have the poem. I appreciate the time and effort and love my mother put into it. But honestly that poem has never been especially important to me. But today the poem took on new significance. Today it became a more relevant part of my heritage. For today as I read it I could hear my mother’s voice. I could sense her love and pride and presence as if she were giving it to me all over again. I was reminded once again of who I am and where I came from. I was reminded of whose I am and the journey that I am on.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Because I am Thirsty

My adult autistic son Brock frequently struggles with sinus congestion. When he does we go to the drug store and buy a twin pack of Dayquil and Nyquil. He will take a shot of the Dayquil “orange medicine” in the morning and a shot of the Nyquil “green medicine” at night until the bottles are empty which usually corrects the problem. This week he acquired a worse than usual congestion problem and our usual remedy was not working very well. We went to the doctor who prescribed another medication and said it was ok to continue our “orange” and “green” medicine routine but as condition got better we could stop. Last night as he prepared for bed he said “take the green medicine”. I thought he was a little better so I questioned whether it was necessary or not. I asked him if he thought he needed the green medicine. As I expected he said yes. So I asked “Brock, how come you need it”? He responded “Because I am thirsty”.

Now I am wondering: How many things do we thirst for that we really do not need? How many things do we thirst for out of habit and routine? How many things do we thirst for that really do nothing to quench our thirst?

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