Funny that “happiness” should be in the title of this post.
It surely took many, many days of Angst-on-Steroids to get there!
I know we all experience angst to varying degrees in so many challenges, difficulties, times of uncertainty in life. Here’s the difference. If you don’t have a disability (not sure that is true, kind of think we all have disabilities of various degrees😎) you have the ability to reason, you choose a place, a profession, a corporation you actively engage with to pursue a means of employment….
For Joe, he has become increasingly aware that he is somehow very different from his siblings as he has watched them learn to drive; go to junior college followed by Ave Maria University; get jobs; fall in love; get married and start a family. We rejoice, watch in awe as our peeps grow wings and fly! Increasingly over these past few years Joe will ask, “Why Xavier drive? Why Agnes get license? When I drive?” 💔 “I go Ave Maria like Sam?” 💔 “I no want to be handicap. Mom, when I not be handicapped any more?” 💔 No amount of Joe, you are perfect just the way you are helps his self acceptance. Everything he lives tells him otherwise. Medicine; therapies; Special Ed classrooms; meetings where people talk about him; not being inviting to dances and parties; struggles that lead to hospitalizations; the list goes on and on……
Joseph attended a sheltered workshop this past summer, and despite the incredibly wonderful staff, it only confirmed his feelings of being different.
Joseph does not like feeling different. He wants to feel and be, grown up. Our friends and family have been the biggest help ~ always welcoming him with open hearts and showers of love. Dear friends who know what a sports freak Joseph is, invited him to a Notre Dame game. Bam! His smile only grows! (His knowledge of Sports teams: statistics, game dates, who is playing who…..is almost photographic. Always amazing!)
The opportunity to work, in his own community, everything he has longed for, suddenly appears through the love of his Aunt Mary.
The possibility so wonderful, it sends him into outer orbit anxiety, and there I suddenly understand ~ the deep meaning of the word “angst” ~ watching our handsome young man start to freak out in fear and anticipation.
A job like this is everything he wants. Fear wants to overcome him.
Helpless. No positive encouragement helped. Only made it worse. You can do this, Joe! You’ve got this, Joe! Yep, worse thing you could say when he’s freaking. You have to give him enough lead time to know where he’s going, and when fear overtakes him, step back and pray.
The night before, we were looking at each other wondering if all of it would vaporize because he might refuse to even go.
Then it was Friday, he freaked and voiced every objection he could. Maggie calmly kept getting him ready. “You’ll do great Joe. Think how awesome getting a paycheck will be!”
Praying, praying. So many we know pray for him……
Suddenly, he was quiet. Calm.
No more objections.
Off they went after we took a picture in our Homeshrine….
Waiting for me, wondering how he was doing was as painful as sending him to his first day at school!
Then Maggie sent this:
Today? He came home SO happy, his smile lit his entire being. “Was so fun”.
Giving people opportunity, giving them a chance to feel the dignity and beauty of their own worth creates a radiant light and joy all its own.
The restaurant even sent him home with a huge man sized lunch! Perfect.
Our Joseph ~ definitely feeling so grown up and happy today! He worked through the angst and made that inner choice all on his own to reach beyond all the angst and fear, walking towards happiness…..
Maybe, perhaps, we should start calling him Joseph-the-Brave. ❤️