Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Lettuce By Any Other Name

When Taylor wants mashed potatoes, he asks for lettuce. Actually to him, lettuce is also called lettuce. He says the exact same word for groceries and glasses. He called ketchup "wope" for years. Taylor calls hammocks, tents. He calls my friend Abigail, Carin. He calls my friend Mary, Emma. It takes some decoding and doing that computer-mind "skimming all programs" to be able to settle sometimes on what it is he is saying---and then means. (I just had a brain pop: Maybe I am eating the wrong kind of lettuce. Is that why my pants don't button......or is it my detergent?) What-ever!...as they say.
There was a wonderful family in our church growing up who had a son with special needs. Thinking back, I can't ever remember anybody else in our church who did not look "perfect" on the outside. P. was such a neat and fun guy. For years he brought real joy (and laughter!) to so many lives. This was way before it was ever on my radar that I might be doing this same sort of dance down the line. (Are crystal balls all they're cracked up to be?) I remember in high school P.'s brother telling me that when P. got cold at night, he would sing. Apparently he did not shout out for one of them to help him with his covers. No, he sang. He sang and his family knew. His song was their cue to get out of their own beds and go to P.; Their brother was cold. He needed his covers. So he sang them a song.
Every single person reading this right this minute wants to be heard. Especially when our beds, our jobs, our lives are all askew and knotted up, we want people to know what we mean when we say something. It's even better if people know what we mean when we don't have to say a thing. Sometimes, though, when we get cold, (afraid/uncovered/needy) the words have a tough time making their way up from our hearts and out of our mouths. So many times, like P., we just want someone we love (and you are truly going to barf here)to bring us warmth--to come check on us. (Did you live through that last sentence? You know it's true, so get over it.)
Mashed potatoes. Lettuce. Hear me. See me. Get to know me. Pay attention. That's what we're saying really. Listen to my song. Come to where I am. I have something I need for you to know.