“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” George Orwell

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Bruce and Cam (aka Martha and Mary)

I had the privilege of presenting to a group of Christian medical students at a meeting on the University of Redlands (Ca) campus last night. What a great group of future doctors they were. Our program was comprised of myself talking about impairment vs. disability, Kathi (my wife) intereviewing 3 adult friends with cognitive disabilities, Alice a friend and medical student and her son Josh sharing about their experiences with the medical world and another friend and university colleague, Bruce sharing about his experience as a parent of a child with a disability.

I got a bit choked up at one point, when Joyce, one of my friends experiencing disability shouted to me, "Spit it out" which shook me right out of it! Kathi asked great questions and Alice provided wonderful pointers, mostly about treating people with even the most severe disabilities as people, with respect. This seems so obvious, however, if you have any experience with persons with severe cognitive disabilities, you know that it is not at all obvious.

In the midst of the evening, Bruce shared the story of how he was keeping an eye on his son, Cam a preteen with autism while he was doing yard work. As he was working, trying not to be distracted by his son, an older gentleman walked on the sidewalk past them. His son ran up and positioned himself in front of the older man and began a conversation. "What do you have in the McDonalds bag you are carrying" it started after name introductions. The man stood there and kindly interacted with the boy for several minutes. Finally the man said it was time for him to leave. As Bruce stood there, he kind of shook his head to himself, wishing that his son would leave the man alone as he got back to his pruning. The man began to walk away when his son called out to him again. "George!" he said. "Do you know Jesus as your savior?" the autistic boy called out. Bruce said he was moved and really convicted. He was the Martha to his son's Mary (to use the Biblical story). At that moment Bruce said that he learned a great deal about himself in relation to his son, and also about his son.

It was a wonderful evening. I was very impressed by the students and the program (put on by Campus Crusade).


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I can only say Wow! That is an amazing and inspiring story.

I will share with you that one of the autistic kids we serve started speaking to us yesterday morning at church. It wasn't really much but "Iwant bus." meaning he wanted to go to the edge of the church property and see the shuttle buses arrive and depart, "You come," meaning he wanted my wife, Kris, to come with him to see something outside and "Bye" to Kris and me when his favorite one on one arrived; we were no longer immediatly needed after Jaqeuline arrived.

6 words are not many, but they represent more than I have heard at any one time in the almost two years we have worked with this boy.

His parents were equally surprised by his "motor mouth." How are we to know what is inside these special kids or when some of it might escape? God knows and is not surprised.