This is too funny! I was just looking back at this post, more specifically at the picture of us on the beach. I just noticed a head peeking out between my husband and I and it just cracks me up! Do you see the mischievous eyes twinkling from between us. That's not just someone passing by who stopped to stare into the sun reflecting on the water just as we happened to take a picture! No sirree, that's someone being full time, 100%, completely luvin' it ONERY!! That someone is my brother-in-law Craig. And I had no idea he was there when we took this picture! Craig is an incredible member of our family. He is blessing that never stops blessing. Craig has Down's Syndrome. But that doesn't mean a whole lot to us, his family. To us he is a gift from God and it is a privilege to be related to him. We took him to Florida with us because he loves to travel and we knew he would love Disney World. And did he ever!
When I entered into this family, both Craig and I were 19 years old. We really hit it off well and he embraced me into the already large family group. He and my husband are special buddies and I was very happy that he didn't see me as a threat. The only problem he had with me was that I now shared a bed with his best buddy-brother. He thought I should sleep on the couch so that he and his brother could continue to share a bedroom as always! He wasn't especially excited about being moved to the couch when he came to visit. But he worked through it.
Craig loves Jesus passionately. There isn't much that blesses me more than watching Craig worship. He has a serious speech impediment and is difficult to communicate with by words. But he sings and he prays and he lifts his hands in tribute to his Creator. Every Sunday. He wouldn't think of missing church. It's just not done. And if there is an altar call, you can be sure Craig will be at the altar. Because after all, that is a special place to talk with Jesus.
There is just something so honest about Craig. He has an uncanny sense of right and wrong. He does not tolerate injustice to himself or others. Because he can't speak a lot, he listens a lot and I am confident that he is wiser than any of us. When my father-in-law was killed in a logging accident several years ago, we all worried about Craig because he just didn't seem to show any emotion. No tears, no questions, just a calm acceptance of something that seemed impossible to comprehend. We kept asking him "Craig, you understand that dad died and that he isn't coming home again don't you?" He would say "yes" and that was all. Nothing more. We discussed as a family how we could help him deal with this horrible occurrence and nobody really knew what to do. The day of the funeral came. We were all so sad to say earthly goodbye's to this man we loved so much. There was a time during the service that people were invited to stand and share a memory or a comforting thought. Many people stood and shared and it was very meaningful. Suddenly, in the front row, Craig stood up. Craig can't talk well and some were uncomfortable because they knew he wouldn't be understood. But very clearly, very plainly, everyone sat in amazement as they heard Craig say, "It's okay. Jesus told me that dad went over the rainbow." And then he sat down. This gave a whole new meaning to speaking in tongues! I know that God gave us that moment to reassure us, not just about Craig's comprehension of this great loss, but about the fact that this much loved man was safe in His keeping and we would see him again someday! Somehow, we all found the burden a little easier to bear. Many years later, people still talk about that special moment.
At the university where I work, a professor and his wife just had their first child, a little boy. A little boy with Down's. Naturally they are devastated because this isn't what they dreamed of. In my heart I want to tell them that this isn't the worst thing in the world that could have happened to them. But they will learn that on their own. They will discover that this boy will do more for them than all the other children they ever have could possibly do. They will discover that God has given them a very rich blessing indeed.