Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
I love those posts where I’ve learned some deep and wonderful wisdom from the Holy Spirit and can show how I am applying the lessons of my life to the glory of God.
This is not one of those posts.
This is one of those posts where I reveal (to the surprise of no one I’m sure) that I’m a spiritual slug.
As mentioned in previous posts, my son Jay has Celiac Disease. Diagnosed three and a half years ago when he was fifteen. It’s a pretty serious auto-immune disorder that involves very strict and complicated dietary management. Controlled by diet it’s survivable.
And I hate it.
But this isn’t really about Celiac Disease It’s about the heart of people and the heart in me. And how I’ve been touched by people carrying our burden in ways that I am ashamed to say; I probably would not give back.
I can give you a short list of heart heros.
These are people who have heard about Jay’s condition and taken it upon themselves to take some of the burden on their own backs on his behalf. They have, on their own, internet searched and learned about Celiac Disease. They send me e-mails and web links with information and advice. They send me recipes and have actually purchased food items for him.
My parents top the list. They are the gluten-free king and queen. Whether taking daboyz up north or just having us all over for a barbecue, Jay is at the top of their priorities. Separate utensils, double-checked ingredients. Complicated and time-consuming recipes to accommodate his needs. The table is presented with place cards specifying gluten-free so there’s no guess-work and no accidental contamination.
My sister keeps a store of gluten-free basics in her pantry because she’s our hostess for most get-togethers. At the drop of a hat, she can whip up wonderful things for her nephew because she is always prepared.
At work Janet, Marsha and Nada are constantly finding me recipes and restaurants that will fit into his complicated diet. Usually with a computer print-out to make it easier.
Cathie and Janet are in constant prayer for Jay’s healing and inquire often as to his health.
Daboyz’ youth leaders Adam and Katie have made it their responsibility to understand Celiac Disease so when Jay is at a youth function, he can eat without any particular attention being drawn to his illness.
Local restaurant owners and waitresses who know our family (yes, we eat out too much); have made it their business to understand this little-known disease and make sure his food is uncontaminated. If we get a new waitress at our local favorite Sunday afternoon lunch spot, one of the regulars will run over to make sure she’s taking care of our boy.
My Aunt Sue and cousin Lisa live in California and mail us care packages with stuff we couldn’t purchase here for Jay; like gluten-free noodles for soup. Especially in the beginning when we were driving for hours to find anything he could eat. Their gestures not only made my life easier but took some of the heaviness from our hearts by sharing the load. And the seemingly simple act of supplying us with food made him feel that this disease was manageable.
A few weeks back we went to Coldstone Creamery and Jay ate ice cream that we thought for sure was gluten-free, and then he had a reaction. A really bad reaction. I called the restaurant just to find out what might have been in the ice cream that I wasn’t aware of for future reference. I got six follow-up calls from the local outlet to main office administration inquiring about his health and taking detailed instructions from me about how to prevent future contamination.
The heart of people leaves me humbled.
These are just a few examples of the burden-bearing we receive on a weekly basis. The list is actually endless. People invested in Jay out of nothing more than love.
The heart of Christ beating in mortal flesh.
As I said, this is a story about me and where I miss the mark. I miss the heart-mark way too often. I offer no excuses.
I just want to do better.