my thank you speech

This is the speech that I wrote for J’s 8th grade graduation. I wrote and read this with the intent of saying ‘thank you’ to a community of whom rallied for our son. We are so grateful…
About 4 years ago, J came home and said confidently, ‘I am going to go to Villa’. We said, ‘sure, seems like a nice group of kids, high academic standards, superb teachers, and a good community’.  He started at Villa 3 years ago. He learned some amazing study skills, built some incredible friendships, and his life was truly enhanced by his study of the Cabrini traditions.

But, then November 21st, 2010 happened. Playing the sport that he loved, J suffered a traumatic brain injury. It was an unbelievably scary time. Not knowing if he would come out of it and what he would be like. There was a constant during this time, however, and that was the unwavering love, support, and prayer that this community extended to our family. 

In watching the slideshow yesterday, it was abundantly clear to me just how special each of these kids are. They take care of each other. They put someone else’s needs before their own. When one of theirs is down, they pick them up. It has been a privilege to bear witness to the pure kindness and love that they have poured into their prayers, their cards, their posters, their messages, and the way that they have made J feel appreciated, cherished, and important. 

You would be amazed at how the teachers, staff, and administration put so much careful thought and consideration into to his return. They did everything possible for him to be successful. There is even a sofa in the library that was set aside if he ever got tired, he could rest on.

We feel moments of awkwardness because it is so difficult to articulate the deep appreciation that we have for this community. Each one of you has left an indelible impression upon us. Life will never be the same. Colors are more vivid, flavors more intense, intentions more pure. 

We are humbled by the blessings of God and the true power of prayer. J and our family were guided to your community by the hand of God and were graced in your presence. 

You have inspired us. You have taught us to love whole heartedly, to laugh from of the bottom of our souls, and to see the blessings lurking around every corner…even in the most inconspicuous of places.
Thank you.

catching on things

All of J’s friends wear their J wristbands. His friends at his school decided upon the saying. It says ‘We Believe’ and on the flip side it says ‘In Julian’.

Since it is made of rubber, it can catch. I was typing away this morning and then moved my hand. It caught. I took it off, mindlessly, and put it next to the computer and found myself staring at it. My heart skipped a beat, I held my breath. I realized how much I loved the fact that it caught on the desk and how I had to stop what I was doing to consider some of blessings that have been bestowed upon us in these past months.

I wear mine all the time. It is a constant physical reminder of the love of a community for one of their members; of how strongly this love can change a person and everyone in their periphery. In this phase of J’s recovery, this feeling of enduring compassion, inspiration, and friendship for a buddy and his family has been a life changing experience for many of us. So, yes, I love the fact that my wristband catches on my desk when I’m typing. The inherent kindness and generosity of everyone in our community is contagious. You might catch a case of it if you are careful!