Drinking from the Fire Hydrant and Filling Up Cups
I feel like I'm drinking from the fire hydrant. Have you ever felt like that?
You start out hot and thirsty, standing outside in the blazing sun. Sweating bullets. Burning up and tired out. Just looking for a little drink - a momentary reprieve before continuing on.
Some loving soul then sees you and hands you a hose with water flowing....
From a fire hydrant.
It flows and it flows. Full blast. Problem solved. You're not thirsty now. Right?
Yes. :) Now you are simply flooded with the very answer you sought. You're thrown back a little, but it's so amazing as you have so much of what you needed. You're in shock.
There's so much good that it's staggering, and you're swimming in the overflow... rushing to gather every drop to share the love. Because this CANNOT end with you. There is simply too much good to share and you want to....
To deliver a bucket of water to the guy down the street who had his water cut off last week....
To saturate the yard of the lady in the next town whose been living in drought conditions for years...
To pour into the life of the child in the next country who has never seen water from a hose at all. She's only seen a bucket here or there with whatever made it her way.
Welcome to my world, friends.
I'm there. So there.
I'm drinking from the fire hydrant and swimming in the very answers for which I prayed. It's beautiful and the stuff that answered prayers are made of... and it can be overwhelming in the best way possible.
A little background... my house is the perfect example of an average American household. Middle income. Single parent. 2 kids and a dog (we added fish this year- I'm such a risk-taker, y'all.)
We're also part of a select group of families that live with learning differences and unique health care needs. Dyslexia, ADD, and Autism (just to name a few.) are the flavors of "fearfully and wonderfully made" at my house. We also have blue eyes, dimples, curly hair, and a ridiculous amount of "you are definitely going to be 5' 9" or shorter, kid" going on around here. We're never boring, and as the Mama of this brood, I tend to think they are crazy cute, to boot.
Some of you know our story. In short, I have 2 amazingly cool kids who needed instruction specific to their learning differences. Why? So that they can walk away from their school years with what every other kid receives --- a good education that will prepare them for life and help lead them to their God-given callings.
At our house, the needs were pretty clear. Plainly put, we needed tutors. We needed technology. We needed therapies and programs. "Need" was and continues to be a big word in our house. We needed help in our desert.
We needed a sip of water.
Some days the water was brought to us. I vividly remember the day that a friend of mine simply gifted my boys with their iPads. It literally changed our lives. Speech to text technology. Social stories that my child could help create in a click. Spell Check.
For the love, y'all. Spell Check. Let's talk about Spell Check. I am convinced there are no spelling errors in heaven. Yeah. I'm going on record officially to say that NO ONE will give a flip about spelling one sweet day and there will be no red ink pens unless they are writing awesome words like #RedeemingRed. :)
Anyway, you get the idea. My kids and I were given a reprieve because someone cared and helped connect needs to services. It mattered more than they would ever know. (High five, Mr. Stephen.)
On other days, I worked HARD to find the water. Worked until I thought I would just collapse into a heap. I was tired and couldn't just write a check to get to the solutions my kids needed. Hear me when I say that I KNOW there are others of you out there going through this. I get your emails. I see your posts. I hear it in your voice after IEP meetings, therapy sessions, 504 meetings, and more. If you nothing else that I type here resonates, please remember this. YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
So, one day our story changed a bit. I thought I was just waving a white flag of surrender, and God opened the floodgates. Too many changes to even write out here. One day I'll share them, though. One day. :)
Today, I'll just say that He knew we were way beyond band-aids for the educational boo boos we were facing. He took those Ouch Years and turned them into OPPORTUNITY. He entrusted us with the vision of our nonprofit, Roundtable Solutions.
Now my family and some amazing donors, friends, volunteers, and a beautiful Board of Directors are taking our collective experiences and passion and we're putting it to work for the good of the next.
Understand when I say that anything good that comes from this is NOT us, but all about God using us to help navigate these waters as He connects us for greater good than we can ever imagine.
Just my personal thoughts here (well, I guess that's what this whole blog is, eh?), but I don't believe we're on this journey as some kind of cosmic God-whammy where He sees if we can take the heat.
I believe with everything in my being that these journeys will be used for GOOD and not for harm, and that lives will change far beyond today because one of us looks at the next kid or set of parents and says, "I remember. I relate. Let's chat."
I believe one day we'll look back and say, "Ohhhhhh. Now I see. Wow."
So, as life brings us to new friends on this journey, we're building relationships with intent. We need each other. We are intent on being that bucket of water that changes lives of our Roundtable Solutions families, the schools they are in, and the communities that love them, all by addressing their places of need. Connecting dynamic kids who have unique learning needs with encouragement and supports - it's the purpose for which we exist.
And we're CELEBRATING, friends. Oh, how we're celebrating theses kids and the people that love them! Why does the celebration matter? Does it really DO anything for them or create any change?
I'll let you ask my oldest son that question.
To him, the celebration is everything. He holds his head up high and is pretty willing to try to learn anything now. That matters. His story matters.
That guy down the street who had his water cut off? His story matters.
That lady and her kids who've been living in drought conditions? Their story matters.
That child clear across the world who doesn't even know where the water comes from because she's only seen a leftover bucket here or there? Yeah, you guessed it. Her story matters.
So, we celebrate where we're at and where we're going so that we can reach them and draw in new friends along the way. We'll continue growing and we'll do more and more over time as the river of help flows so beautifully. We'll collaborate and coordinate, learn and love. We'll spread awareness until the whole world has an awareness tee shirt in their closet and knows exactly why it's there.
But, I'll ask for forgiveness now. Because as I learn to balance the water from this fire hydrant that God so lovingly blessed us with, I will make mistakes. I might be awkward. I might be overwhelmed. I might miss an email. I might have to say, "I don't know the answer to that question." I'll be really, really human.... and you might shake your head a bit.
Remember Moses? Gosh, I relate to him. Sitting there looking up saying, "But God, I stutter. Are you sure?" And every time He looks back at this gal with her own learning differences and says, "Oh, yes. Get out there. I'll send the water. Grab a poncho and bring some gallon buckets, sweet girl. Let's go fill some cups to overflowing. Do what I've asked and I'll do the rest, Christie."
So, I'm soaking wet, completely drenched, and getting sprayed by this red fire hydrant right now... and I'm pretty stoked about it. Dancing in it, even.
And we're going to be having a few parties about it on a regular basis.
And there are MANY more to come for friends
we haven't even met, just yet.
Our motives are clear. To "do life" with you, and then to help connect needs with solutions. It's what we do. It's how we love.
If you're still out in your own personal desert, I pray you know that my family and I are praying for you, and our vision is to reach as many of you as we can through the tools God hands us.
We may not ever get to meet, but I pray for "the 1" every single day. The one we have not met. The one that needs help. Every 1 that you ever see in a statistic. Oh, how I pray for you.
Copyright © 2015 by Christie Aitken.All rights reserved.