I met Mike and his 30-year old daughter Jenny at the coffee shop today. Susanna was staring, as usual, because Mike is an older gentleman and Susanna seems to have a penchant for grandpa-types, so we introduced ourselves.
Mike’s daughter Jenny is in a wheelchair, and severely disabled. She cannot use her arms at all. When I asked if Jenny could communicate, Mike said that she understood a lot of what was said to her but she can’t speak or do much other than blink her agreement. He shared some of the ways they’ve tried to help her communicate. I told him it must be difficult to find the balance between trying different tools and giving her the dignity of just being herself. It humbled me that Mike seemed to really appreciate my comment. I imagine that often, people don’t talk to him in public at all. Many people offered to help him maneuver the coffee shop, which was refreshing to see. As often as I am prone to blather on about Susanna’s sleep schedule to anyone who will listen, I figured this parent would want to share his challenges even more, so I was thankful that it came naturally (this time) to start a conversation.
The blessing of this meeting was that I was able to share a blog I read, The Works of God, with Mike. I explained that the writer is part of a disability ministry of a church in Minneapolis and that I am always encouraged and challenged by what he writes, even though there isn’t anyone in my life with a disability like that. I pray that God will use this blog to speak to Mike.
Sometimes, I’ve fearfully wondered if I am being prepared for some future event and that’s why I am drawn to this blog. God knows. But He used it today to bless Mike, and for that I am grateful.
And if He is using it to prepare me for something, I will raise holy hands in thanks for the grace of preparation!