This is the story of an extremely special little boy, who by most standards doesn’t speak plainly; however, the language of his heart rings abundantly clear. As an infant, he seemed to be progressing perfectly--eating well, rolling over, and even walking early. But months began to build and no words came, some babbling and some of “his” words that only the family could understand. As the months turned into a couple of years, there was still not a lot of verbal language. However, this child that was not really talking was stealing everyone’s heart. His compassion for others was extremely obvious early on. He loved to help with anything and he truly loved others. The realization came not long after his second birthday, when his cousin was born. He was adamant about taking something very special to the hospital to give to his new baby cousin. It was November, so he chose a reindeer that sang Christmas carols.
His first word “Due” (which is what he called his Chihuahua, whose name was Duke) was used quite often. When this beloved pet died suddenly, the boy was devastated. Surely this will pass; he’s only two and a half, and he could not possibly remember this dog later on. Again, months passed and this precious child, who didn’t understand death, but did understand that his Due was not there, would call for him daily. His parents’ hearts would break with each call—his mother tried to explain as best she could that Duke was with Jesus and that one day we would get to see him again.
By now some words and even some phrases, but they are not very clear. In fact, if people were not aware of what he was speaking about, they would not understand what he was saying. His mother would cringe when someone would ask the most common question asked of children, “What’s your name and how old are you?” You see, he had trouble with many words--but his name, it was especially difficult. He could manage the word Bet but not Brett, the “r” sound was almost impossible for him to say. His mother would always let him respond first and then back him up. But he loved and he loved often.
He was just so mature in the area of love; everyone was always amazed at how considerate he was of others. If he was playing with something and another child wanted the item---he would simply hand it to him or her and smile. After seeing this numerous times, his mother decided to address the issue with him. She explained that it was all right to keep playing with something even when someone else wanted it. His response was, “Its o.k., I can play with something else.” Have I mentioned that he is speaking in sentences now? However, only his parents and close family members can distinguish what he is saying. I know by now you are wondering about therapy—he started speech therapy at age three, but that is not what this story is about.
It seemed to his parents that they continuously had to answer the question, “What did he say?” His parents didn’t begin to realize how enormous his heart was until his baby sister arrived. Not for one minute was he jealous—he had to bring flowers to the hospital this time. He was so proud of her, he would feed her, talk to her, and play with her the best that one can play with an infant, but the sweetest thing he wanted to do was brush her hair. He was so gentle, and her big eyes watched so admiringly, as if she knew exactly what he was doing. As she grew, he would let her have anything she wanted, whether she would tear it up or not. He just wanted her to be happy. Then one day he asked the question that rendered chill bumps on his mother: “Can we tell her about Due?” You see, over the past couple of years he had mentioned Duke occasionally—but at this moment she realized what a strong bond of love that was between these two friends. So, with tears falling, they showed her pictures and told her all about Due. His mother prayed continuously to help him talk better so others could understand him; he was starting kindergarten and she wanted to make sure that his teacher would be able to understand him. She tried to clear the thoughts away just as fast as they raced through her mind, “What if someone makes fun of him, his heart is so tender?”; “Will he stop talking completely if people cannot understand him?” None of these things came to pass. Not only does he have a tender heart, he also has the character to laugh at himself, and it really didn’t bother him that he spoke so differently than everyone else. As you can imagine, reading and spelling became very difficult for Brett. He had to work extra hard at it, and he did. It wasn’t until first grade that we realized he could read much better than he could speak. This was the beginning of a new approach and much progress.
Now that he was older he was beginning to realize the importance of prayer; his family had always prayed, and he would ask to pray for someone occasionally, but it was different now. He believed that if you pray to God about something it was taken care of…and isn’t that how we all should believe? Once, when he was five he had to be hospitalized because of an extremely high fever. His parents were terrified because the doctors were not sure what the problem was, but Brett would continuously tell them, “It’s all right.” During one of those long nights, after going through a multitude of tests that day, his IV became clogged, and the doctors were going to have to run another one. Because his veins were so small it took many painful attempts, but with tears rolling down his face, he never allowed a scream to emerge. During this time his mother, who was lying next to him, shed many tears of her own while praying continuously: “Please God let this be over with and take his pain away.” After it was finally finished he patted his mother’s face and said, “It’s o.k. now.”
He continues to amaze his parents with his compassion for others. He wants to pray for everyone. He hears a story or watches something on television, and he wants to pray about it. He recalls sermons that he has heard that the majority of us have forgotten. Although his parents have been fully aware of how special he is and continually praise him and tell him how good he is, they have not really explained to him how special his heart is, until just recently. As far as his school grades go, Brett is extremely tough on himself, so when he made a C on a spelling test, he was devastated. He cried until he fell asleep that night, but as his mother lay beside him in bed that night she explained something to him. “Brett you see grades are important, but they are not the most important thing in life. If you do the best you can and that’s a C---then it’s all right, because the most important thing is to have a good heart, and you have the greatest heart of anyone I know. You see, Jesus wants us to work hard and do our best---but most importantly He wants us to have a loving, compassionate heart like His, and you do.”
Just recently during a trip to the fair, Brett stopped his parents in their tracks once again. He and his sister were getting on a ride; the seats were in a row facing out. After the children were all seated and about to buckle---Brett suddenly jumped up, moved his sister from the outside seat to the inside, patted her leg, as to say that she would be safer there. Then after the ride attendant checked her harness, Brett rechecked it. His parent simply looked at each other, smiled, and shook their heads.
I could go on and on, but you know how mothers are. You see, Brett is my son and my prayers have definitely changed because of him. Instead of praying for him to speak better, I thank God for who he is, because he has shown me what is important in life. I cannot begin to tell you how much I have grown spiritually because of Brett. God has shown me through him that it is all right to be different; wasn’t Jesus? I pray now that Brett continues to mature in Christ and can lead others to Jesus.