I had a meeting at the behavior therapy center associated with Rhema’s school last week, and Hope tagged along. We were walking through the hall when Hope squealed “Rhema!” Rhema was not at the therapy center that day so I was confused as to why Hope had called her sister’s name. Then I saw the block letters R H E M A in an office above a desk.
Instantly I recognized the letters as the ones in which Rhema had learned to trace her name. I knew the desk must belong to Heather, Rhema’s former OT, and I didn’t know that she had saved the letters. Heather taught Rhema how to trace and write her name a few years ago. Teachers at a previous school had suggested it could not be done, giving her a stamp with her name on it instead. But Heather believed big things for my girl.
Can’t tell you what it did for me as I stood there in the hallway, staring at those 5 traced letters on the wall. The words to an old Sara Groves song floated through my head, “Hope has a way of turning its face to you just when you least expect it. You walk in a room, you look out a window and something there leaves you breathless. You say to yourself… it feels like it might be hope.”
I’d been focused on the difficult days Rhema was having at home and school. I’d been concerned about its impact on her teachers and her learning. I’d been thinking about all the things she struggled with at age 2.5 that she’s still struggling with at age 9.5.
Seeing R H E M A in Heather’s office was a precious reminder for me: In the midst of the doing and working and advocating and parenting and praying, I have a reason to be excited. Excited because my daughter has been blessed with teachers who love her and inspire her and she loves and inspires them in return (!!!). Excited because she has made great progress. Excited because God is in it all. And anything is possible.
I wrote to Heather about the letters and how they encouraged my heart: I think sometimes we think/expect the super-beautiful, super-talented, popular people to be the much-loved ones (at least I do). Rhema is talented and beautiful but she has trying days and challenging behaviors, she makes messes, she needs continuous one-on-one support, etc … and yet she is truly loved and celebrated by you and her other teachers. It blesses me more than words can say…
Heather wrote back: Whenever I am asked why I love being an OT I always talk about teaching Rhema to write her name. I keep the letters at my desk to remind myself why I do what I do and how rewarding and lucky I am to get to work with these kids. Every day it reminds me to do my best and that little miracles happen every day. Thank you for letting me be a small part of your children’s lives.
I mean… WOW. Having teachers like Heather in my child’s life is God doing the ‘exceeding abundantly above all that I ask or imagine’ (Eph. 3:20).
I’ve found the hope again, expectant hope, deep down and unshakeable.