Thursday, May 21, 2009

We're Alive...

We have extended our family a bit. A friend's husband walked out on her and her two children, one of whom is autistic. No contact, some financial support and a completely shattered family. We have a FULL house a couple days a week so our friend, Jen, can get some sleep. She is working night shift to make ends meet and struggling with grief, exhaustion, a broken heart and isolation. We are doing our best, with the help of Heather's family and Melissa's family to fill in the HUGE gap left by her ex. We spent tonight having dinner on the porch, enjoying the weather and the children- 9!!- running around the backyard. We just talked and enjoyed each other's company. It was lovely. I could feel God's love surrounding us and comforting her. Prayers for her sweet little family would be appreciated SO much. Her son, Ben, is autistic and has begun "interloping" lately. It is something that Alzheimer and Autistic patients sometimes do and is basically going for a walk. Ben is only 9, so you can imagine how terrifying it is for Jen. She also found him sitting on her 2nd story window ledge this week. He didn't do these things before his family was broken. He is a really amazing kid. His artwork will be featured in an art show here in Philly this summer. He also fixed a problem with my Adobe reader I had been struggling with for a couple of weeks. I didn't ask him to, he just did! He is a smart, fascinating, talented, but communication challenged kid. Her 3 year old impish delight, Zia, is smart, high spirited, and very energetic. We may be 'helping' them but they are enriching our lives and growing our hearts. They are a blessing. 
You should see Talyn, Sylver, Trin and Ari with Zia and Ben! They are amazing and have welcomed them in to our routine and home with such love, enthusiasm and compassion that I am beyond proud of all four of them! Even Ari has accepted Z's spirit by matching it with her own, LOL. Talyn is disappointed on the days they don't come over and has been SO nurturing and protective of the smaller kids. He is so freaking amazing lately he deserves his own post. He has matured unbelievably in the last year and sometimes I can't believe he is even the same kid! He has begun to exhibit responsibility, sound logic, compassion, kindness, generosity, and un-yielding faith. He retains his goofy, energetic personality and has a charming ability to laugh at himself. I am so very blessed to watch him grow!
There is something I have really been mulling over lately. The society we live in has become increasinly isolating. It used to be that a community would help raise children, fill gaps, heal hurts and nurture relationships (and be in each other's business, annoyingly so at times I am quite certain!)....  Now we barely know the people who live five feet from us, and for the most part none of us have any desire to change that. I wonder, though, if the cost for our privacy isn't too high. Surely this isn't what God means when He Says Love Thy Neighbor As Thyself. I am as guilty as the next person of nurturing isolation instead of relationships, of protecting my heart instead of exposing it. Yes, that does protect me from disappointment, conflict, and hurt feelings, but it also deprives me of true, honest, authentic relationships and the growth that comes along with those relationships. I am VERY sensitive and seem to lack the ability to build heart calluses, so protecting myself has become second nature.  I don't know if that will ever change, if I am even capable of changing it, but I think bringing it to my Heavenly Father is a great place to start, don't you? 

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