As her daughter perseveres through a speech disorder, Nicole Johnson reflects on what she has learned about the basic human need to be heard.
“Hey Mom,” she says, her deep brown eyes and perfectly freckled face looking intent and thoughtful.
“What is it?” I ask.
“When I’m 17 [the magic age when all her future dreams are realized], I’m going to have all my words so I can talk.”
“Yes, Mary,” I say. “If you keep working hard, you will.”
These moments come at the most unexpected times and in the midst of the mundane, our little one leaves me completely disarmed. Until this moment, I didn’t know how aware our 11-year old daughter was of her speech disorder. I guess a part of me wanted to believe she was somehow blissfully unaware. Yet, when you have something to say and don’t have the ability to summon the words and queue them in the right order, the silence, I imagine, is isolating – and imprisoning. Walking alongside her on this journey keeps me ever aware of the power of words and the basic human need to be heard.
I imagine few would argue the point that there are perhaps too many ways to communicate with one another these days. The endless and suffocating noise of social media and the constant barrage of news at our fingertips has, in my opinion, become a pandemic of its own with views thrown about recklessly and comments unfiltered and unapologetic as though human beings are not actually tied to the conversation.
This Child we gaze at is the literal fountain of hope, yet it is up to each one of us to queue our words appropriately and give voice to His message of love. #catholicmom
I love the season of Advent, as it affords such a special opportunity to step away from the noise and really listen: to imagine ourselves kneeling among the shepherds and animals in the manger and letting ourselves be overcome with the peace that is to be found there. This Child we gaze at is the literal fountain of hope, yet it is up to each one of us to queue our words appropriately and give voice to His message of love.
We cannot leave Him imprisoned in the manger, His message of mercy and healing isolated among the few believers. He is counting on each one of us to carry His presence to our own little corners of this broken world – the world He came to rebuild.
Copyright 2021 Nicole Johnson
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About the Author
Nicole and her husband have been blessed with three children. Nicole markets the mission of a non-profit that provides early therapies for children diagnosed with developmental delays. She and her husband serve on the board for the New England chapter of Bethany Christian Services, a national adoption agency. Nicole's family advocates for life, adoption, and embracing children with special needs. Visit her blog at Joy in the Journey.