Sunday, April 10, 2016

I Found It! ...And Other Matters of Loss

Have you ever lost misplaced your car keys, or a pair of earrings, or important papers? What do you say when you find them? "I found it!" Or, when you find the perfect dress to wear on a special occasion. "I found it."

Have you ever felt you have lost your mind and couldn't locate it? Hold that thought for a moment.

I was hired at Ottawa Township High School in Ottawa, Illinois, straight out of college. The year was 1975 and I was now the new special education teacher with one additional class of Sophomore English in general education. I called my mom, "Guess what? I found it! A job!"
A few weeks later, I bought a car. Happily I squealed to my best friend, "I found it! A cool green Dodge."

A year later, I renewed my faith and joined the popular Jesus Movement of the time. Taking off on the idea of what was lost, is found, was the motto, "I Found New Life in Jesus", or the shortened version, "I Found It!"

I had that sign hanging on the door to my classroom. One of my sophomore students said, "I'm so glad you found your room this morning."

Fast forward 30 years of lost loves, lost opportunities, lost dreams, lost friends; I find I have gained more than any loss. In fact, most of my losses have turned out a gain for something better.

And yet, there is a great loss that is unrecooperable (I coined that word. Hope it works for you) for my son; his mental illness. It has stolen his personality, his freedom, and his future. These days we are 'recalculating' his entire life. Sometimes, he will go to the places he used to go before his nuerons began to miscommunicate. Once in a while he will feel fearless enough to go to the grocery store with me. At times, he will walk two doors down to the library. His world has shrunk. As a result mine has too.

Its been three years since  Matthew has been unable to work. Trying to live with the constant voices in his head, the creatures he now sees, and the invisible bugs he feels crawling on him, I have helped him apply for social security time and again, and again, and again. Always,  he is turned down for various reasons. The first time it was because he isn't blind. Sweet Matthew, who always thinks of others first, said, "Someone who is blind does need it more than I do." He had no idea it was just a put off response. I will spare you of all the paperwork, the social security office visits, and phone calls I have made trying to get assistance for him. Its been an impossible journey.

Nearly two years ago, we secured a lawyer. This Thursday, after waiting 3 years, we finally have a court date. Its in Dallas. My daughter knows my feelings of driving along the high five in major morning rush hour traffice. FRIGHT. This morning, Matthew and I did a dry run before the big day of April 14th. We found the place! I FOUND IT!

I bought the respectiful  navy blue dress for the court. I found it! My son has a wardrobe he will actually wear and I found it! Let's hope we can sleep between now and then.

As Matthew finds his way through this life peppered with invisible threats, and I find my way to Dallas on Thursday morning, may you find your journey in life to be an easy road so you may help others find their way.

God Bless.

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