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A Painful But Valuable Lesson


In 1983, I decided, with Tom’s support, to quit teaching and stay home full time. Our son, Shon, who has cerebral palsy due to a premature birth, was one and half years old at that time. Since Tom was working and I was now home, most of the responsibility for researching our options for Shon fell on my shoulders. Tom was most helpful when he would listen to me and help me make decisions. But I had to learn to respect his feelings and opinions. I learned the hard way that we should not move forward on a decision until we were both at peace about it.

The surgeries Shon went through when he was younger were mutually agreed upon. But there was one surgery when Shon was 12 that neither Tom nor Shon were at peace about, but I was so hopeful that it would enable him to walk that they reluctantly agreed. Shon was in casts from the waist down for a month. I spent long hours and many sleepless nights massaging his toes to relieve some of the pain, praying for supernatural strength to stay awake. I clung to the hope of Shon being able to walk. The surgery didn’t work, but it left long scars on his legs that he was self-conscious and bitter about for many years. I carried a secret guilt—afraid of how Shon would react if I confessed that I felt I had made a mistake. Would I only make him feel worse? Would he be able to forgive me?

Finally, one day when Shon was 24 years old, I was driving him home from therapy and he brought up the subject of his scars and his doubt and bitterness about the necessity of the ones on his legs. He said that every time he looked at them, they reminded him of his doubts about the surgery. I suddenly burst out crying and confessed everything to him and asked his forgiveness. Then a miracle took place. Shon’s bitterness disappeared and he began to comfort me! He said, just because the results weren’t what we had hoped for didn’t necessarily mean it hadn’t been God’s will for us to go through it. We hugged and Shon sang “Scars” by Ray Boltz to me. A heavy burden was lifted from both of our hearts that day, and I had learned some valuable lessons!

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