Today Chester and I visited with our precious Adult Enrichment Students at United Disability Services ~ we have known many of these students for two years. I had no idea how much these amazing men and women would climb into my heart. Nor, how much Chester and I would climb into theirs. Two years doesn't seem like a long time, but our love for each other grew big in that short time span. That is God :-) How His love surprises us, touches us, and changes us.
Today was the day I told my friends that Chester and I (and my family too) are moving to California in September. Though we have one more visit together in August...I knew I needed to tell them. Today. I was not looking forward to this moment, not one lil bit. After we had lots of Chester visit time ~~ I told them about our move, I told them how much Chester and I loved them, treasured them. ..... ..... ..... And then it was like someone let all the air out of the room, and I saw on their faces that they clearly understood what I was saying. I watched tears well up, and expressions sadden ~~ and then the tears started to leak down my cheeks, like they are leaking out now.
While I was in the midst of fumbling with my words, eyes dripping, and lump-in-throat-growing ~~ my sweet friend Stephanie (name changed) reached up to me from her wheel chair, and began to repeat kind words. She was patiently repeating because I was having trouble understanding. I think I had tears in my ears. I asked a staff member to help me interpret the gentle words this young woman with the long brown curls, kind eyes, and dimpled smile was trying SO hard to communicate to my ears 'n heart.
She said to me --- "Would you like a tissue? And a hug?"
Oh my, Yes. I need both.
(And I needed BOTH even more after I understood what she said!)
With tissue in hand, and strengthened by a warm hug, Chester and I went to each student. We heard everything from "I am so happy for you!" to~ "Please don't go..." to~ "This is so hard" to~ "God bless you for giving yourself to us" to~ the heart-words that long embraces and tears communicate. Ohmy, it was so hard, and tender. Chester's tail even drooped. I wanted to make it all better for them. But I couldn't. There's a lot to be said for hugging and crying together, and laying a furry head on a friend's lap. It is healing.
One of the many things I have grown to love about those with so-called-special-needs (HONESTLY, I question who really has the special needs -- I think perhaps the world has it all upsidedown 'n backwards. Special needs can easily translate into special-gifts. ) is the way many are able to express their emotions and their heart. So authentic. So real. So simple.
Two years ago. When I walked through the door into this special classroom, I had no idea I would love these students so very much. Each one of them. With each visit, these men and women climbed deeper into my heart, and gave me far more than Chester and I gave to them. I will miss Tuesdays at Adult Enrichment.
Adult Enrichment. A fitting name.
Sigh. I need a tissue. And a hug.
PS August 14th, we get to see our friends again. SO HAPPY about that. For sure.