Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Childhood (09/03/09)
TITLE: The Life You've Given Me
By Mary McLeary
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The glorious scenery of the Southern California coastline was something Judy Wyatt was usually thankful for, but today it was blurred by her tears. The tears weren’t nearly as distracting as the runny nose that went along with a good cry. After she wiped her nose on her shirt sleeve and blinked several times, she looked in the rearview mirror where she could see the top of her son’s head. Matt had to drop his head and cut his eyes sharply to the side in order to see. When he said, “W a t e r”, she assumed he could see some of the Pacific Ocean.
Judy was taking Matt back to his group home in Long Beach which was forty-five minutes away from their house. It was a great place with wonderful people who could provide the constant medical care Matt needed, but she wasn’t thinking about that. She was in the midst of a pity party that had started when she saw a kid about Matt’s age walking along the street carrying a football and wearing cleats, football pants and a jersey with #21 on it. As Matt sat contently in the back, the tears flowed, and she was overwhelmed by his childhood losses. She saw in a flash all the simple things that Matt would never do, and in that moment she mourned and felt the anger that she seldom felt anymore.
In the fourteen years since Matt’s birth, Judy and her husband Dan had learned many life lessons. With Matt’s severe and multiple birth defects, they found it necessary to find unusual ways to navigate the journey of his childhood.
“Okay, Matt. No more of your mom’s blubbering. You don’t care about football anyway. Do you?” Matt just smiled and turned on his radio. As the music played, he rocked gently back and forth to the rhythm, and Judy prayed,
“Father I know you love Matt more than I do. I know you hear my prayers and that you will hold him so close to your heart that no evil will touch him, but Lord today I’m weak so please show me something that will comfort my heart. Thank you.”
Thirty minutes later Judy parked in the lot of the house at 1581 Rodgers Street. She popped the trunk, helped Matt out and shouldered his bag. With his hand resting securely on her arm they walked to the front door. From the porch Judy could see William, Matt’s friend, who was always glad to welcome Matt back. Tall, skinny and wearing a protective helmet, William looked at Judy and reached for Matt’s bag.
“Thank you, William. I needed some help.” William grinned and Judy followed him as he walked toward Matt’s room with the bag. Judy dreaded leaving Matt today. If he held onto her arm as if he didn’t want her to go, she would probably cry all the way home.
As they reached Matt’s room, Judy was surprised to see that a young lady was sitting in a chair directly in the doorway. She had long black hair, big brown eyes and the most beautiful smile. The next thing Judy noticed was that this lovely lady had an opened bible in her lap. As she looked up she smiled and said, “Well hello, Matt. I’ve been waiting for you.” With those words, Judy felt a peace she hadn’t felt all morning. Matt immediately let go of Judy’s arm and reached toward the sound of her voice. Together Matt and the beautiful lady walked off toward the kitchen. “I bet you’d like some tea, wouldn’t you.” She looked over her shoulder to give Judy a parting smile. Matt never looked back.
On the way home, Judy thought about Matt’s childhood and knew she couldn’t compare his with anyone else’s. The bible says that the Potter forms the vessel as He sees fit. Matt would have a unique childhood, but really everyone’s is unique and makes them the adults they turn out to be. Maybe the most important thing is not the “vessels” but the prayers for them that God is always faithful to answer.
“Lord today you have answered another prayer and I’ve learned another lesson from you and Matt. I will enjoy my own life without comparing it with that of anyone else. This is the life you’ve give me and there is much to be thankful for.”
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