Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Lela, Term 5, 2012

There is another story I want to share with you from camp last week. I find it amazing how things are still rattling around in my head, and I've been home several days. I think that's cool though, as God is still showing me things! *grin*

I will begin by explaining about Lela. Lela is a gal I had in my cabin during Barn-A-Break. She is a young lady with Autism and does not speak to communicate. She can sign a few things, but that's about it. She has the ability, at times, to communicate her wants and needs though. For example, I remember during Barn-A-Break, she wanted my pretzels, and she took one off my plate. After that, she would let me hand them to her. It was precious to me simply because we were communicating. *grin*

So Lela arrived a day late to Term 5 due to pink eye, but she made it and I was SO EXCITED! I REALLY like Lela, and while she couldn't show any excitement toward me at seeing me, that was fine. I'm used to that out at camp. *grin*

Throughout the week I made a point to verbally encourage both her Cabin Mom and her CIA. See, she wasn't in my cabin, but she was in Martha Grace's, so I saw her from time to time. *grin* I liked that!

My story about Lela during Term 5 happened during the Dance Party night. I chose to sit on the porch during the dance, with the thought that when the girls from my cabin came outside I would be an automatic "third" for whoever came outside. *grin* It was a great plan, and while the G5 girls never came out for a third (the party was a hit!) I did get to see something amazing.

Initially I was on my own on the porch. I actually enjoyed that. I sat on the porch and simply enjoyed time with the Lord. Over the course of the evening, people started coming out of the dance. I knew that would happen. People with Autism and loud sounds don't always mix. *grin*

I enjoyed watching everyone come and go. I also had people come sit down by me and leave. I enjoyed getting to know people as they would sit and talk. The chats were always short, as they would then start walking again or go back inside to dance. Then I saw something different.

I saw Lela, her cabin Mom, CIA, and a man came out of the dance. The cabin Mom was trying to protect the guy, and the guy said something like, "You wanna dance? Here, do this..." And he took Lela's hands and danced with her. It lasted about two seconds, but it was beautiful. Then she hit him and walked away. Lela's Cabin Mom tried to get in the way, and the guy said, "No, it's okay." Lela would walk away and go back to him and do a side hug, hit him, and walk away. This happened three or four times. I fought tears as I saw it play out, not because she was hitting him but because she was trying SO HARD to connect with him. It was just SO HARD for her. The guy just stood there, wanting Lela to learn how to love. Wanting Lela to connect. For Lela that is DIFFICULT. And the guy just waited.

When it was clear the time was over, he left (I believe) because that time had ended for Lela. And, well, Lela was escalating physically by hitting a lot of people and needed to be removed from the group. I heard later that Lela hit both her Cabin Mom and her CIA several times throughout the night. I had never been hit by her the weekend I had her in my cabin. That night though was difficult for her. The next morning though she was past it and back to her usual, rocking self. That made my heart happy.

That short visual that I had...watching Lela try to connect with people that night had me thinking two separate things at the same time. First off, we all act like that with God from time to time. We want to be close to Him, and sometimes we pull away after we hit, kick, scream, or whatever at Him. Yet He takes us back, just as the guy did that night with Lela. He simply waited. What an AMAZING picture of us with the Lord!!!

The other thought I had, which is a common thought I have out at camp, is how blessed I am. I'm not saying that Lela isn't blessed, as she clearly is in her own way, and she has DEFINITELY won my heart! At the same time, I can connect with people pretty easily. I have a voice. I take SO MUCH in my life for granted. I can walk, talk, connect, pay my own bills, live on my own, and I even have a dog I take care of. *grin* I'm a blessed gal. Sometimes, I will admit, I lose sight of that. And sometimes God gives me a picture like that to remind me so that in those moments I am frustrated that I can remember what He's given me.

That makes me *grin* ear-to-ear.

I'm headed out on Sunday to go to camp all over again. I wonder what else He's going to teach me this coming week. *grin*

AMAZING...with blessings we sometimes take for granted. *grin*

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