Just over a month ago, we had a guest speaker at my MOPS group. Her name was Wendy Hagen, and she has an amazing story...she has a blog here, and I haven't had a chance to add it to my google reader yet.
But that's beside the point.
The morning she came, our table of nine was down to four, with no leaders. So my friend Kristen came on over, since she's in MOPS leadership. The topic was Hope, with a capital "H". We were supposed to discuss what Hope meant to us, and honestly, I didn't know. I know what "hope" with a lower case "h" means. And I like how HOPE looks spelled out (and think it would look great in my now empty entertainment center). But other than that...?
I left MOPS feeling like I'd listened to a great testimony, but like I didn't get it.
A few weeks later I was listening the the radio & the song "I am Free" came on. If you're not familiar with it, take a listen. I *love* that song & get teary every time I hear it. And even more emotional when we sing it at church.
I work in special education as a speech therapist. I also work in nursing homes. Both part time, but I've done it now for ten years. Some of my patients/students have minor needs, like producing an "s" correctly. Others have much more going on. Like a student I had just over five years ago, before I had my son. Let's call him Adam.
Adam was born a healthy, happy baby. At 18 months he had meningitis, which was misdiagnosed as the flu & therefore untreated. By the time all was said & done, and I met him in kindergarten, he was in a wheelchair, with very limited use of him arms & hands. He was, as far as we knew, blind. He had profound mental retardation. And I had to work on his communication skills, which basically meant, try to get him to respond to his name. Very, very sad situation.
His parents were very involved, and some of us working with Adam thought they were in serious denial. They would go to school with him everyday, and there were times that we'd walk into his classroom & ask them where he was. To which they'd respond, "he's outside jumping rope." Which really meant, his wheelchair is parked next to the kids jumping rope, and he may or may not be watching them if he's awake right now. Kind of like saying my newborn was playing the Wii with my husband because she was in the swing in the family room taking a nap.
I have no idea what has happened to Adam since I left that school.
Fast forward to now.
Like I said, I get emotional whenever we sing "I am Free" at church. Every time I think of Adam, and how his present condition is just that. His "present" condition. Someday he will be free to run, and laugh, and play, and sing just like every other child of God in Heaven. And I wish I'd been able to share that with his parents when I worked with him all those years ago. But I didn't have that relationship with them, nor did I have the spiritual maturity to do it.
So after hearing Wendy speak, and then hearing "I am Free" on the radio, it hit me. That's what Hope is. It's knowing that Adam will be free of his present condition for all eternity through Jesus Christ.
And maybe his parents weren't in denial after all. I wasn't a mom at that time, so I didn't fully understand. But now I've got three kids, and I can see their potential & beyond the present. Maybe his parents had so much Hope that they were able to actually see him jumping rope, and running and playing and being a boy, not bound to this earth.
Now I get it.