Speedbumps and Thanks

March 3, 2014

I have no idea how time is moving so fast when this winter seems to be just snow shoeing along so slowly. I know I'm not alone in this but I stand waist deep in the company of many who have seen just about enough ice, snow and wind for one winter. Nevertheless the weeks on my ipad calendar just keep swiping to the left as time races on.


As an update our Jesse is just starting his third week of a five week stay at a children's rehabilitation hospital in the city. He's not there due to any health issues. Jesse is a very healthy boy. The facility which will also include his mom sleeping in a cot at his side will provide Jesse with back to back hour after hour therapies to promote his development. He'll be monitored and assessed by all the specialists and tried out on several pieces of specialized equipment that will help promote his physical progress.


Cognitively we have really seen some nice changes in Jesse over the past few months, but as we have learned for the brain to grow it must be given challenges. Challenges would be new things, new feelings, new activities, and new stimulation for his brain to process. Every little bit of thinking forces the neurones in his brain to find ways of connecting to each other.


The five weeks at the hospital will also provide Bonnie and myself a needed break from the heavy home based routine that we must follow when Jesse is home. Kristin is also enjoying the opportunity for some new scenery and activities as well. The hospital is a unique environment to say the least. As well as all the new stuff the kids are involved in, the families and more specifically (at least most of the time) the mothers have great opportunities for endless discussion and trading notes about their children's conditions.


You know there are times when I am overwhelmed with the feelings of thankfulness when I think of Jesse. We are so fortunate to have him. It may be difficult if not impossible to understand but Jesse is in great shape. We have so much hope for him. As I mentioned he is a very healthy little boy and growing as normally as he should be. Oh, we know he is delayed, and delayed a lot. At the rate that he is recovering from his injury we know that it will most likely be several years coming, but our point of hopefulness lies in the knowledge that HE IS CHANGING! It may be slow, but it is real! Jesse can really be quite incredible at times. Like times when he is sitting on one of our laps as we sit in our living room having our morning coffee or late afternoon break and as we are casually talking he will suddenly turn and look directly at one of us and smile, seemingly for no reason other than that he gets what we are saying. We know, especially with his mom that he will often look up at her and for no apparent reason just smile. There is no question to any of us, it is a smile that is saying, "That's my mom...and I love her!"


Jesse is approximately thirty months old now. If it were not for his brain injury we know that by now he would be running around the house like a little wild man. Even now he has boundless energy and loves the rough play. The more we throw him around the better he likes it. His favourite thing right now is when his old man (that's me by the way, purely based on my age of course) hoists him up on my shoulders. I run around the house jumping up and down as many times as I can work them in, sometimes with his mom chasing him and screaming, "I'm gonna get you!" You know, I actually thought grampas were supposed to be slowing down by my age, but it looks like that's not in the hand that I'm holding. However I should admit that after a particularly strenuous day of 'learning through play', I generally wake up the following morning with a bit of a speed bump in my giddyup if you know what I mean.


You know it's a peculiar thing, we have been so intent on looking for and seeing the changes taking place in Jesse, but along the way I cannot help seeing the changes taking place in myself because of my experience with him. We've all read stories of how people confess that their lives have been changed dramatically after working with the poor, or the lame, or in disaster relief, etc.It's so true. Our paradimes do change. The late great Christian preacher Dr. Adrian Rogers said, "God is so wise that the person with the highest IQ cannot figure Him out. If you could come to God with your intellect, then God is not fair because all of the smart people would have a head start and the rest of us would be left standing in the shadows. Your spirituality would be based upon your intellect."


The Bible says in Matthew 11:25 "God has hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes." I guess it's not so much that God is so high that few can figure Him out; it's that God has placed Himself at such a level that few of us will get down low enough to see God revealing Himself to us through the work he is doing with our children, whether they are hurting or not. As a parent myself and a grand parent as well, like most other parents I can look back over the years of raising our kids and see how there were so many things, both good and bad that have impacted the direction of their lives. As parents, and any of you parents know this, no matter how diligent we are at watching over our little flocks we cannot shield them from every event or every relationship that might add a little more burden to their journey to adulthood.


Bad relationships or experiences can damage values, dreams and good intensions and even experiences that would not be classified as "bad" ones can also do their worst on impressionable kids and young adults. These things can become ingrained so deeply that they solidify into 'Lifestyles' that are far less honourable and productive than they could have been. Many times we see more extreme issues coming into a person's life because an individual's personality has been infiltrated by self-centredness, vanity, insensitivity, a down slide of values, a moving away from a life of faith, and embracing the number one sin of all time since the fall of Lucifer from Heaven...PRIDE! All the good and not so good that go together to make up our children by the time they reach full adulthood may be anybody's guess. But in one sense they all share the same fate and it inevitably shows up in the "baggage" they bring into their marriages and relationships.


So here I am again...analyzing myself. Am I PROUD of Jesse? Oh yes, I am. But it's different than pride in self. My pride in Jesse and his progress is really an acknowledgment of God's grace and favour in working his amazing and mysterious purposes through Jesse's life.


And the thankfulness that I mentioned earlier?


I am so thankful that I have a seat that's front row centre to watch it all unfolding.


Bob Arrigo

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