Wonderfully made

Jennifer Bonn

Christopher's joy with a homemade truffleJen Bonn

I am often amazed at the beauty around me, but sometimes the greatest masterpieces are not what we expect. Beauty and magnificence are often found when you have to look closely to see them, or when you least expect to find them.

My neighbor has a son named Christopher who has quite a few physical challenges. One or two of the things that Christopher lives with daily would cause many people to use excuses to claim that some things are too difficult to do. Christopher has a strength of spirit that many adults would be proud to have. He refuses to give in to the challenges. Instead, he has decided to crush them and do his best to enjoy what life has to offer him. Let me give you a few examples of what I have seen that have inspired me.

Christopher has difficulty walking, but you can see him walking his laps around the neighborhood with his family every day. He could complain about the effort it takes, but instead, he uses that time to ask questions about everything. His intellectual curiosity is one of the many things I love about him. He asks insightful questions. He wants to know about everything.

Christopher’s difficulties with his vision also make walking difficult. Until recently, if Christopher came over to see my garden, I would have to take his hand to guide him up the steps or around any obstacles. Something has changed in the last month, and he has become more fearless, because last night when I held out my hand to help him, he refused and instead bent down and touched the steps with his hands to see where he needed to step.

Another fear Christopher has conquered is his fear of dogs. He has an Australian Shepherd and I have a Border Collie, and they are both crazy messes of non-stop energy. When he first came over when the dogs played, I had to close him in the garden to keep the dogs away from him. He gradually moved to stand near the treehouse, and now he stands out in the middle of the chaos, which I cannot really recommend to anyone.

Christopher is learning to swim in our pool. I watched his lesson yesterday and was once again amazed by this child’s determination to not let anything hold him back. He was learning how to go underwater, and you could see he was afraid, but he looked at the instructor and said, “O.k., I’m ready.”, and he did it!

This seven-year-old could teach all of us some lessons, especially about seeing the blessings in his life, having a good attitude, and showing kindness.

When you have a child who struggles in some way, your first instinct is to protect him, but in my opinion, enabling your child, when he can do something, is one of the worst things you can do. My son was born with a bleeding blood vessel in his brain. He had a brain operation to repair the blood vessel. Because of the operation, he has a large scar and a lump on the side of his head, but I was given a list of possible issues that might result from the operation including partial paralysis, so a lump on the side of his head did not bother me at all. He needed physical therapy when we brought him home and he had to be checked frequently by specialists. At one appointment, I saw the shock on the doctor’s face. He asked me if they could do a study on Tyler because they could not believe how well he was doing physically. I know part of the reason for that is I never treated him as if I didn’t expect him to not be able to do something, and I see Christopher’s mom doing the same. She lets him decide what he wants to try. It’s like a team effort.

I know it is difficult when your new child doesn’t completely fall into the realm of whatever our culture considers normal to be, but often those differences become the greatest blessings.

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I am passionate about running, parenting, education, and self-help information. I enjoy writing articles that will offer readers the information needed to help them in some way. I recently retired from teaching French and Spanish for forty years. I run every day and have done all kinds of races from 5ks to ultra-marathons. I have three children and three grandchildren. I write for several magazines in my area, I am a contributor and in charge of the Pinterest board for a parenting magazine called Screamin Mamas, and I have a second book about to be released through Loving, Healing Press called 101 Tips to Ease Your Burdens.

Kennesaw, GA

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