Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Spiritual Art of Raising Children with Disabilities

Have you ever sat on the beach, on that part of the sand where the waves have just receded, where the sand is damp and tightly packed? You take a plastic shovel, or perhaps your hand, and begin to dig. You dig and dig until water begins to burble up from within the sand, finally filling the hole you’ve so carefully carved out. The poet Kahlil Gibran writes of sorrow carving deep into our beings, leaving more room for joy.I'm happy to recommend this important book.  And hope you'll stay tuned to this blog -- as Kathy will be guest posting about The Spiritual Art of Raising Children with Disabilities soon!

I know what it is to grieve—parents of children with disabilities grieve the death of a dream—the dreamed-of child for whom they waited so long. My third son, Joel, has autism and moderate intellectual disabilities, along with an anxiety disorder and severe kyphosis of the spine. Everything I valued in my life before Joel’s birth had to be rethought and revalued—intelligence, efficiency, logic, self-control. The old rules no longer applied, and my spirit, which craves peace, order, comfort, and security, withered as I struggled to make sense of the seemingly senseless—a beautiful boy with a damaged brain. 

I was stuck in denial for a very long time, and when I finally broke free, I raced headlong into anger, self-blame, and depression. Through this grieving process, which lasted several years, I never stopped calling out to God. Even on my darkest days, when my mind was too numb to form a prayer, I repeated four words over and over. “Hear my prayer, Lord. Hear my prayer.” The grief itself became my prayer.

The above is from the opening chapter of my friend Kathleen Deyer Bolduc's newest book The Spiritual Art of Raising Children with Disabilities.  The Spiritual Art of Raising Children with Disabilities uses the mosaic as a metaphor for putting the pieces of life back together again, and the spiritual disciplines as a framework for daily works of healing and restoration. It offers bite-sized pieces of poetry, scripture, personal narrative and teaching on the grief process, the upside-down nature of the Kingdom of God, and the spiritual disciplines. Each chapter concludes with a reflection exercise to gently lead the reader into a deeper conversation with God.

I'm happy to recommend this important book to you.  Please stay tuned, because Kathy will be guest blogging here soon!

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