They had a son that was in 10th grade, a daughter in 7th, and another son in 1st grade. Just so happens I was the 1st grade "teacher's aide" that year at our school, so I was assigned to Brian's class.
When I was introduced to Brian, before I met Coach M, I could tell something was definitely different. Not wrong...just different. He was not very good in class, and at a small Christian school, there was no one there equipped to help Brian how he needed to be helped. He lasted about 2 weeks before he had to be home-schooled.
Brian had autism.
I am very sensitive to the discussion of topics like autism, and would never want to offend anyone. Most people know that there are occasionally some negative aspects of autism, but those are not going to be discussed here.
Brian had very few people he let into his life. He would be withdrawn most of the time, but he really loved me and another guy names Sean. He would cut up and kid with us and say some of the funniest things...witty things.
Brian had 4 loves in his life:
1. The Weather Channel. In their home, there was a TV somewhere tuned to TWC at all times. He couldn't get enough of it. You didn't want to be around him if TWC wasn't able to be accessed in less than 5 seconds. The only time their wasn't a TV on TWC was when...
2. The Cosby Show was on. This show provided a good, wholesome portrayal of the American Family. This comforted him. Brian liked this. He was extremely bothered at one point though, worried if the Huxtables were going to heaven or not. He couldn't wrap his brain around a family being THAT NICE, but not going to church. Fortunately, they had an episode that began with the family arriving home from church, thus easing Brian's mind.
3. Interstate Maps. Brian could tell you how to get to any city in the United States from any other. He was a human Mapquest. I asked him how to get from Miami to Seattle. I checked his directions with an Atlas as he told me without missing a beat, and he even told me two ways I could choose, either cutting across the country directly, or staying on I-10 so I could drive the coast. Did I mention he was in FIRST GRADE???
4. Hardee's Fried Chicken. Brian's 1st grade year coincided with Hardee's introducing Fried Chicken in its area restaurants. And, I admit, it was gooooooooood, but I couldn't eat it EVERY OTHER DAY like Brian did. Shawn and I would take him every once in a while to Hardee's, and he was in heaven! He absolutely loved it. We would get a box with pieces for us to eat at the restaurant, but also a couple extra legs for him to take home.
One day, Coach M asked Shawn and I if we would like to see Brian's room. While I had been all over their home, I realized I had never been in Brian's room! He kept the door shut and it never occurred to me to enter it. But one day, when Brian wasn't there, Coach opened that door.
I was not ready for what was inside.
As he opened the door, my eyes were immediately drawn upward. Hanging there, like many people hang model airplanes, sort of suspended in air, were white and orange Hardee's Chicken Boxes hanging from the ceiling. Probably 40 or more.
In a weird way, it was kind of pretty.
Coach shared with us that anytime Brian had a good day and a good time at Hardee's, he would write the date on the bottom of the greasy box, and then they would hang that box from the ceiling. Shawn and I found some dates that we had taken him, and he even wrote our names on the boxes sometimes. It was really something to behold.
Who would've thought having your name written on the bottom of a
fried chicken box could be so moving?
Brian wanted a tangible keepsake to remind him of the good times.
This week at my church, Centerpoint Fellowship, we had a great study of Psalm 77. Asaph opens in not the best state of mind.
Things weren't good.
Something was stressing him BIG TIME!
He openly questions, "Where is God?"...where is His love. Where is His compassion? Does He even care??
How many of us have asked those questions openly. or privately.
BUT....how does Asaph turn this bad day around???
He takes his eyes off the present woes long enough to look back at the Ever-Present God!!!
11 But then I recall all you have done, O Lord; I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago.
12 They are constantly in my thoughts. I cannot stop thinking about your mighty works.
I cannot tell you how many times I have forgotten, or even chose to ignore what GOD has already done for me!!! I need a reminder.
Like the childern of Israel who would make large stone monuments to mark a place, time, or event simply to remind them of how good God is and has been, my family is going to do the same thing.
At the end of our sermon, we were given post-it notes to write out one time that we could remember God:
Providing for us. Rescuing us. Lifting us. Being there for us.
My mind raced to try to think of just one, but I did. Then we went to large areas on the wall designated for these Post-its. A church of over 1,000 can cover a wall!!!
It was AMAZING and EDIFYING to read all of those notes.
Businesses saved from ruin.
Loved ones brought to Christ on their death bed.
Endangered pregnancies miraculously healed.
Story after story of how GOD has been there for us over and over and over again...yet we tend to lose sight of this.
In my living room are 2 large bay windows that have absolutely no view. About 6 feet from them are deep, thick woods. Nothing to look at....YET!
My wife and I are going to sit together, and prayerfully reminisce over just how great, powerful, awesome, amazing, and present God has been. We are going to write these on multi-colored Post-it notes and place them on this window...and a tangible reminder of how wonderful MY GOD is.
Do you have any tangible reminders of God's goodness?
I will post a photo of our Praise Window one day after completion.
Post-its on a Window and Floating Chicken Boxes!!!
Call HGTV...I may be the next Design Star!!!
Asaph ends the Psalm like this....REMEMBERING GOD'S GOODNESS:
13 O God, your ways are holy. Is there any god as mighty as you?
14 You are the God of great wonders! You demonstrate your awesome power among the nations.
15 By your strong arm, you redeemed your people, the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.
16 When the Red Sea saw you, O God,its waters looked and trembled! The sea quaked to its very depths.
17 The clouds poured down rain; the thunder rumbled in the sky. Your arrows of lightning flashed.
18 Your thunder roared from the whirlwind; the lightning lit up the world! The earth trembled and shook.
19 Your road led through the sea, your pathway through the mighty waters—a pathway no one knew was there!
20 You led your people along that road like a flock of sheep, with Moses and Aaron as their shepherds.
How many Post-its would that have taken???