Today is thanksgiving. It is the day where status updates are filled with "I'm thankful for...[insert cliche]." This is all fine and good. I love hearing people that are grateful and thankful for their blessings, it makes my heart happy. To tell you the truth the Lord has really been dealing with my heart lately. I've been working on being a more grateful human this whole semester. Trying to find things to be thankful for has made me work harder at finding the bright side of situations, which doesn't come easy to me. In return, this has made me have a more positive outlook on life in general, which has made me be in a better mood. It's a domino effect that I am thoroughly enjoying.
Since I have started looking for silver linings, I have also been more blessed by the little things. Today on the four hour road trip to north Mississippi to visit family for the holiday, I was seated by Joshua, my youngest brother, in our mini-van captain chairs. For those of you that don't know, Joshua struggles with a form of Autism. His form is a milder one, but it is Autism none the less. This means that he does a couple quirky things and is a little developmental delayed. Joshua is a genius when it comes to memorization and anything musical, but he struggles with social interactions that most of us take for granted. When he was younger he would refuse to sit in anyone's lap, and ask you not to touch him if you tried in any way to lovingly stroke or hug him. Showing love through touch is something that we don't think too much about, which also means that we don't realize how much we need it. Touch is a way to form bonds with anyone, but especially in the cases of little ones. In this car trip to my aunt's I reached over to hold Joshua's hand thinking that even if he did accept it the moment wouldn't last for long, but instead he grasped my hand as tight as he could. He held my hand in his for a long time until he had to use it to press a button on his tablet, but I was happy for the time I did have. About a minute later he asked if I would hold his hand again! Overjoyed, I reached over to hold his little hand again. We stayed in this position for so long that my arm began to sting from dangling between our seats, but it didn't phase me. I was happy to stay that way for as long as he would allow.
This story may seem silly to most, but to me it's a victory. It's a blessing. It's a miracle. My baby brother, that has this awful diagnosis, is improving. He is able to accept forms of physical touch and also give them willingly. So today yes, I'm thankful for food, my family, a safe place to live, and a church body that loves me, but most of all today I'm thankful for hand-holding.
G R A C E
, by Grace Whittington