"A cheerful heart is good medicine"...Proverbs 17:22
A few days ago, I headed up to Atlanta to see my sister Widget, who was healing from her ovarian cancer surgery. As I was almost there, she said I needed to hurry up because Nick, their 34 year old special needs son was giving his Dad, John, a Happy Birthday party. I rushed to get there by 7:30 because any later I'd miss this real treat.
A real treat it was! Barely giving a hug to my sister, we quickly grabbed the half eaten cake out of the refrigerator, stuck a number 9 candle on top, brought John's 2 cards and a red king's birthday hat and bounded down the stairs to Nick's apartment. After setting up the cake and cards for John's Birthday party, it then became a "Big Hug Fest". Nick was excited to see his Aunt Jody, since I hadn't seen him in a long time so I got lots and lots of hugs. He was proud to show me around his new apartment, show me his perfectly hung and folded closet and tell me about his hundreds of DVD's and I mean hundreds. If any of you have been around special needs kids or adults, you know just how loving and special they are. Over on a shelf were white bags neatly folded and stacked. He knows what dvd is in each bag and if any are out of place. Here is the story on that....Nick loves to go to Goodwill. Every week Melissa or Sabrina, Nick's caregivers take a few of his dvd's, sneak them to the Goodwill clerks, they tuck them on the shelf, Nick with excitement finds them ,they bag them up and purchase is made as he heads home a happy guy with his favorite dvd's from his favorite store, Goodwill. A win win!
The Birthday Party
After the tour I kept waiting for all of the guest to arrive. Soon I found out I was the one and only guest. And where were all of the presents? As Widget had Nick and John sit down, she lit the #9 candle, placed the red King's birthday hat on John and then Nick started to sing Happy Birthday to Dad. Confused, I went along with the song , John opening Nick's signed card with sprinkles on it or "briskles" as he calls it. We ate cake , ice cream, and then the party was over all in a matter of 5 minutes. After putting Nick to bed , I got the real story. This was tradition. Since Nick was little this is the way it has been and this is the way it will be. No matter how old you are you still get the #9candle, same King hat, cake and ice cream. Nick had missed the real birthday party the night before, so he got his own with his Dad. Without a doubt this was one of the Best Birthday Parties ever.
All Nick knows is LOVE. He is filled with so much joy, smiles, happiness and big hugs. He is not jealous, envious, or mean. His simple life is a happy life. Nick is pure Christ love ,the way I want to be. As I thought about my day, do I live and love like this? I want to, but the answer is NO. I had just gotten frustrated about something a friend said, I was worried about my son, I said something unkind ..Being with Nick over those few days taught me so much! Simple and Pure , a life filled with Christ's Love, Joy and Peace. How about you? Like me, do you get caught up in this busy world, where life can get complicated, stressed out, anxious, doubting the Lord? Nick truly is a gift from God. I pray I can always remember my nephew and how he teaches me "Happy Hugs From the Heart"!