I didn’t know that I would hear “I feel normal” so much in one place from so many different people. Yet, I heard it over and over again at Family Retreat. In our culture everyone is wanting to be normal. What is normal to you is definitely not normal to me. Then out of the blue while at Family Retreat I heard myself say “I feel normal here” in a conversation.
Why did I feel so normal there? What was it that I experienced that made those two weeks seem normal? I’ve been trying to process through these questions and more since my return home. I know one answer is that I was surrounded by families that experienced the same things my family has experienced. We were all bonded by the fact that some one in our family is affected by a disability. This is “normal” to us. I saw the tension in so many of the siblings and parents eyes that I have lived with for many years; that tension of how do I experience things my sibling or child really is not able to experience as fully as I am able to and still be okay with that? As the weeks flew by I also saw that living in that tension is our normal. I have found that living in that tension there can still be joy. A joy to move beyond what I see as normal and know that God understands where I am at.
Here are a couple highlights of both weeks:
I will never forget the dad who watched his daughter who has a severe case of Cerebral Palsy be hoisted on top of a horse and be led on a ride around a field. I saw him a bit later on in the day and he was still beaming from ear to ear showing his wife the photos he took of their daughter riding a horse for the first time. This young lady’s mom was able to see her ride again the following day! There was so much joy in that family!
At the first week’s Ho Down I had the pleasure of dancing with Jesse. Jesse has Cerebral Palsy and is wheelchair bound. Thanks to his buddy, Ryan, Jesse and I got to square dance! The smile on Jesse’s face during our dance was priceless.
Even though there are many more questions to process and the tears are still on the brink of spilling over, I know that God started a work in my heart and it will continue for a life time.
“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6