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Nathan and Joseph

September 22, 2012

Yesterday was Nathan’s funeral.  Nathan’s the son of a colleague and his wife.

Yesterday was Joseph’s birthday.  Joseph’s our son.

Both adults with special needs.

At least, that’s what I thought yesterday morning.

One of the two pastors who preached at Nathan’s funeral helped all of us there to begin to understand things differently.

He said that we’re missing a lot if we only see some people in terms of their special needs.

He suggested we begin to notice the special gifts people like Nathan and Joseph bring into our lives.

Nathan’s special gifts included an abundance of love and laughter.

Today, join me in being thankful for those who bring special gifts into our lives.

They, themselves, are special gifts.


From → Uncategorized

  1. Stephen Whitlock permalink

    Sometimes “special needs” comes to mean; I am sure glad that I didn’t have one of those kind of kids; or “Wow” why would God do this to a family? But I now realize that “special needs” require “special parents’. Perhaps the best thing to remember is that, we are all people with “special needs”-that God sometimes let’s us meet those who reflect what we hope to be someday-looking like Jesus.


  2. Michael permalink

    Have you ever read “The Clowns of God”?


  3. Angela Lappin permalink

    Nathan and Joseph are the reason I go to work everyday. When I first got my degree in Special Education people told me that I would only last 5 years. Then after 5 years they asked “when are you getting your regular education degree”……..I have never heard of a profession where people ask when are you getting out! I’m going on 11 years strong…and while work can sometimes be “work” I don’t see the disability. Sometimes I feel like I am in the old JImmy Stewart Movie called Harvey….I talk to other teachers or administrators about a certain student and they just can’t see what I see or they look at me puzzled when I get excited about a small reading gain that took two years to accomplish…or when an autistic kid shows no empathy but keeps going on and I don’t react….or when your Jr. in HS still believes in Santa. I thank God everyday that he gave me the ability of acceptance. However, my tolerance for those that are ignorant is very low and needs some work 😉 Nathan was a great guy that came from a great family. I am so blessed that I was able to be a part of that family through Centenary UMC. Another reason to be a Methodist! Thanks Joe for being such a special parent and pastor!


  4. Sister Seals permalink

    Love it Joe … a special gift for sure!


    • Yup, Sister Seals, yup

      (And say now: weren’t those “Siter Seals” days fabulous?!?! I sure do miss all that, ya know?)


  5. Nanette permalink

    Until a few years ago, I had never met a pair of “special needs parents” I knew had been blessed by God because he knew their backs wouldn’t break under the blessing (others may see as burden). Over the years, I have been friends (or congregants in those early years 😉 ) with/of several special needs parents. I have been blessed with their friendship. My special needs child has disabilities that are not evident to anyone else (learning and behavioral) and I really struggled/struggle seeing the same blessing such as yours (something for another time and I know their are still other’s prayers that carry me). For me, it is so much easier to see the blessing of Joseph (and Nathan) on you or my friend Kay…

    I, too, went through nine weeks, with premature twins, in the Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit, “lovingly” known as the NICU — 30 years later yet a vivid memory for me. On that seventh day, when the doctor asked me to consider taking my son off the respirator and letting go because he could be “brain-damaged or worse” it was all I could do not to grab the lapels of his lab coat while practically whisper screaming at him, “You will do everything, EVERYTHING possible to keep this baby alive. In whatever his gift of life, he IS my son!” I always thought the man hated me because he avoided me the last nine weeks, but it was his reverence that kept him away I found out six years later. He may have been praying for me, but I know, besides my congregation (who understood my every Sunday among all the other days at the NICU), my beloved pastor, Rev. John Annable was that coal miner to me. On the darkest day, the third time he almost died, he was there within no time of our finding out and sitting at his bedside. Why my son was none of the things the doctor predicted that seventh day, I have never understood, when I look at Joseph or the children in the profound special ed class I substituted in in Bethalto, or my friends’ children.

    Rev. Annable, John, was a special support in many times in the nine years I was in his congregation. His prayers lifting mine were particularly special to me. Still are.

    Even with the special needs child whose parents I wonder about, are blessed with special parents (perhaps I should start praying more for the parents, especially now that she has graduated high school)! Joseph and Nathan are wonderful gifts to you and every life they touch/touched!

    As Stephen Whitlock said, “the best thing to remember is that, we are all people with “special needs”-that God sometimes let’s us meet those who reflect what we hope to be someday-looking like Jesus.”


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