I closed my eyes and smiled as I took in his voice. Joseph was singing two rows behind us, and I just knew the angels listened through their tears. His passion, his worship, reached deep into my soul. Cerebral Palsy claimed control over Joseph’s body, and his words were difficult to understand. Except for “Jesus”.
I could hear Jesus.
Emmy was being shy and not excited about mingling, but she had eyes for Joseph. She peered over my shoulder and I could see her in my peripheral, smiling and waving, like she’d always known him. I looked back and saw him smiling and her, and I was filled with such love.
Jesus, only Jesus.
Before Emmy, I think Joseph might have made me uncomfortable. I didn’t understand his intellect. I wouldn’t have been able to see his heart. I didn’t see how strong his parents must be or how much they so obviously adore him. Before Emmy I didn’t know this immediate bond that is passed on every time a child with special needs is born. This admiration we, as parents, have for each other. This mutual defensiveness, this fierce loyalty. And I wouldn’t have been able to fully appreciate Joseph’s song.
Jesus, only Jesus.
I smiled and waved at him. I caught his mom’s eye, then his dad’s. They were smiling at Emmy with the same smile I had given their son. They understood us. I wanted to talk with them, to soak up the knowledge and wisdom they’ve gained over their years with Joseph. I wanted to ask them how they deal with stares and questions. I wanted to ask what they do when people point or when kids ask what wrong with him. How do they handle the fear when he gets sick or questions of what his future holds? But I didn’t. Instead I continued listening as Joseph sang. And I knew the answer.
There was only One who held my answers. He’s the same One who gave us perfect treasures to cherish. He’s the same One who gave us our children to touch the lives next to us and fill a place in our hearts that’s missing from most. He’s the same One who holds their futures and dispels our fears and wraps us in the simple things, like a beautiful song…
Jesus. Only Jesus.