One of the realities of raising a neurologically disabled child is what I call “thick glass.”
Thick glass is the clear yet mostly impenetrable divider between a parent’s unconditional love for his or her child and the child’s seeming total lack of response—that disheartening vacant look. Parents grieve behind thick glass, ever longing to touch their child’s heart yet wondering if their reach gets through. But just as God touches our souls, I believe communion continues far beyond the spoken word or outward response, even if the outward expression seems unmoved. I am confident of this.
I recall one “nothing-special” day when I encountered thick glass. But because of my belief that my son Jon knows I love him, that opportunity challenged me once again to reach through the glass, however thick. Love is an unconditional expression, a gift given without expectation of any “thank you” note in return. On this “nothing-special,” priceless day, I peered into his eyes and said over and over: “I LOVE YOU! I love you, Jon. I love you inside and out. I LOVE everything about you. I cherish you. I LOVE YOU, LOVE YOU, LOVE YOU!!!” Out of the clear-blue sky, Jon whispered back to me, “Mommy, I love you.” I almost fainted. In that brief moment of time, the thick glass shattered.
I often wonder if God experiences my thick glass. My expressions to Him may appear vacant and I show no outer appearance of communing with Him, yet He persistently reaches out, showering me with His unconditional love, His cherishing of my soul. God doesn’t see thick glass; He only sees a child He loves. Can you hear His words of love? Can you hear Him calling your name? “(your name), I love you. I LOVE YOU ________! I love you ________! ________, you are my treasure! I LOVE YOU ________, inside and out! I LOVE everything about you ________! I cherish you ________! I LOVE YOU, LOVE YOU, LOVE YOU ________!!! His grace is amazing, how sweet the sound. He LOVES YOU!
Colleen Swindoll Thompson holds a bachelor of arts degree in Communication from Trinity International University as well as minors in psychology and education. Colleen serves as the director of Reframing Ministries at Insight for Living Ministries. From the personal challenges of raising a child with disabilities (her son Jonathan), Colleen offers help, hope, and a good dose of humor through speaking, writing, and counseling those affected by disability. Colleen and her husband, Toban, have five children and reside in Frisco, Texas.
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