The other day Rhema led me to her stencil board.
Yes, she took my hand and pulled me over to the table and picked up her stencil board. That kind of initiation just does not happen all that often, or ever. She had something to say. I sensed her urgency, and I was all ears.
“I UNDERSTAND THAT I AM LOVED BY YOU BUT SOMETIMES I FEEL SO MAD AT YOU BECAUSE YOU BELITTLE ME”
I gulped and my head pounded. There had been a couple times before when she told me she was mad at me, but it was for seemingly simple things like when I took her blanket from her because it was in desperate need of washing, or when I snatched an important paper away from her marker-wielding hands. But this. This was something altogether different. Her words were a ton of bricks on my heart.
“Rhema… I am sorry. When do you feel I have belittled you?”
“WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT ME AS IF IM NOT THERE”
I wanted to deny. And cry. And make excuses. But truth is truth.
“Rhema, I used to always say that you understood words and things happening around you. But on some level I must not have believed it because I was often careless, engaging in conversations about you right in front of you as if you weren’t there. Even if you were unable to comprehend language, I should not have done that. And now I know with certainty that you listen and understand everything… but I guess you’re telling me that I still do that sometimes… treat you as if you are not a hearing, thinking, caring person. I’m so sorry. I must do it without even realizing it.”
I put my forehead to hers.
“Thank you for telling me. Every letter you point to, every word you spell is honest. And you’re right, you are so very loved by me. Even more than you know. Will you forgive me? I’ve made many mistakes and still have so much to learn. Will you continue to be patient with me? Will you help me by letting me know when I am treating you differently or making you feel… small?”
My gracious girl answered,
“YES I LOVE YOU”
We have conversations now. Precious, hard, amazing conversations. It is a blessing I hope to never take for granted.
And the girl whom everyone thought could not understand… helps us understand.