Just before climbing into the truck he turned to me and said, “You know it gets worse, right?”
“What gets worse?” I asked.
“Your son,” he replied. “It gets worse as they get older and you get older. They get stronger and you get weaker. You still love them the same, but it becomes impossible for you to take care of them. Even short visits become like this—impossible.”
Reading these words brought immediate tears to my eyes. An excerpt from the first chapter of Greg Lucas’s book had me hooked. It was just an indication for how much I’d love his blog posts as well.
Wrestling With An Angel is a great account of a father’s experience raising Jake, his non-verbal son with multiple disabilities. A law enforcement officer and father of 4, he offers valuable lessons for us all. In his post 7 Lessons From The Community of Disability, he shares some helpful insights that have made a difference in his family.
3. Disability magnifies our vision for joy in the smallest things.
Most families living with disability will testify that some of their greatest victories have been those moments typical families often take for granted. I remember the first time our son used the bathroom in a public restroom (at the age of 17). We had just walked into Walmart and Jake took me by the hand and led me to the men’s room. He pulled his pants down and tried to pee in the toilet. He missed the toilet completely, peeing all over the seat, the floor, the wall and the stall. But he didn’t pee in his pants! We were laughing, clapping, cheering and praising God in a urine covered stall of a Walmart restroom. Most people cannot comprehend the enormous victory of that day, but disability often gives us 20/20 vision to see the things that others seem to miss. This is a wonderful gift.
6. When marriage takes second place to disability, it ends up in last place.
It has often been said, “The best way to love your children is to love your spouse.” While very few couples would admit to neglecting this truth in principle, many neglect it in practice. Good intention, without deliberate application, leads to marital deterioration. The relentless care of a disabled child, added to the care of other typically developing children in the home, added to working overtime to pay medical and therapy bills, added to stress and depression and weariness, leaves little time for marriage maintenance. A marriage that is not properly maintained is like a car leaking motor oil. Sooner or later the cylinders will seize, the engine will blow, and the damage will be beyond repair.
Do whatever it takes to make space in your busy schedule for quality time alone with your spouse. Men, don’t wait for your wife to seek this; lead the way. It could be as detailed as planning respite care and adding a date night every other week, or as simple as ending every evening sitting on the couch laughing (or crying) about the day’s events. Aside from daily intimate time with the Lord and His word, this will be the single most important thing you can do to protect your family from becoming the alternative sad statistic.
With passion and conviction, he shares his stories. Thank you, Greg.