When our four daughters were growing up, one of my favorite things was capturing happy experiences and achievements on camera, then creating scrapbook pages.
Heidi’s multiple disabilities made parts of our family life challenging, but other parts were filled with wonderful activities and blessings. Through it all I wanted our three neuro-typical daughters to remember the delight, joy — and growth — we also experienced with Heidi.
With years of holidays, birthdays and more, I had accumulated a nice collection of scrapbooks or “treasure books” as my mom called them. Now that my daughters are all adults, (and have children of their own) those scrapbooks have become treasures to us all.
I remember when Heidi was a teenager, I had decided to get out one of her treasure books to revisit pleasant memories, lift my spirits, and review her progress. It felt good to sit in the sun and reminisce.
“Ah, there is Heidi and Jan at the Christmas Tree Lane Festival,” I said softly.
I was the announcer of the community program that night, and enjoyed performing a song or two. Looking at pictures of my teenager with her baby-sitter in cute winter sweaters with sparkling sequined snowmen, warmed my heart.
“Gosh, they look so happy,” I thought. “Jan truly loved Heidi, and I know that Heidi felt that sincere love and commitment.”
Heidi has an uncanny gift that she can read people’s minds and perceive their true attitudes about her. (So not just anyone was a good careprovider, we found out).
About that time of the community program, Jan had confided something to me.
“I finally know that a better answer for my heart condition is not so many chemical prescriptions,” she said. “Instead, I need to eat fresh, raw foods and ride my bike more.”
A divorced lady, I knew her life was hard and I admired her frugal tenacity.
“Sunday, I heard a wonderful example about money that I’d like to share with you,” I replied. “There was some famous man who was a millionaire. Some people asked him what was his secret to success. He took out a penny and silently held it up.
“They nodded and said things like, ‘I imagine you made every penny count in your business dealings,’ and ‘Even though it seems insignificant, I bet you always saved a penny where you could.’
“But he actually surprised them and said, ‘No, not that,’ and he pointed to the tiny words in capitalized letters on the penny — In God We Trust. He said that was his secret to success and eventual wealth. He had vowed to live a life with sincere prayer, he always paid a full 10 percent tithing back to the Lord, and willingly shared with others in need.”
Jan smiled and nodded slowly. “I love that story,” she said.
“If it’s meant to be, Jan, somehow the Lord will bless you to find ways to get your limited income to stretch, and help you get your health back-on-track,” I said. “I know it’s true, because it’s sure been that way for us, and Heidi, and countless others.”
“You know, Jan,” I added, “I have to confirm it is also our continual faith, prayers and fasting. They purify the soul and enable individual humility and find ways to help draw in blessings. By us heeding spiritual promptings, it’s helping us find affordable ways to rescue Heidi.”
Jan looked at me.
“Yes. And not only can these things be miraculous, but faith, prayer and fasting don’t even cost a single penny!” she said.
It was getting late and I offered to have Rod drive her home.
“I’m going to ride my bike,” she said. She stopped at the door and turned.
“Elayne, thanks for reaching out to me. It really means a lot that someone like you would care and love someone like me.”
We instinctively came together in a hug.
“Jan, I love you for loving Heidi, and caring for her when I can’t.”
I shut the scrapbook and realized we were all growing to be better individuals — because of Heidi, God’s tattered angel.
Elayne Pearson is a Special-Needs Preparedness Specialist, a Certified Autism Specialist and Natural Health Consultant. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org