GOD BLESSED ME WITH A SPECIAL FRIEND
I want to tell you about my friend. We only met this past summer, but we instantly hit it off. Have you ever met someone that you are just drawn to immediately? They feel as though they are your kindred spirit. You have a connection that you don’t have with anyone else you’ve known over the years. That’s what this friend is to me. She is my sunshine, my laughter, my inspiration, my hope. Her name is Sami. She is a twelve-year-old with autism. I work with Sami five days a week as her private therapist/teacher. Every day I look forward to walking into her house to find her waiting for me at the kitchen table. She always greets me the same way, “Hi Miss Karen.” Having a “normal” conversation with Sami is rather difficult, yet she and I communicate with very little misunderstanding. She is a beautiful young lady. She has a jet black braid down the middle of her back, light brown skin and dark brown eyes. She is tall with a slender build and a smile that melts your heart. She loves her i-pads and watches the same young children’s programs repeatedly. She will converse with you in a scripted format from a particular show she has seen. In addition to her i-pads, Sami loves modeling clay. She has ten to fifteen pound of clay on her clay table at any given time. She loves to reproduce the characters she watches from her programs. Each one has its name and very intricate details of hands, fingers, feet, toes, clothes and facial features. I have often mistaken them for professionally made toys you would purchase from the store, but Sami makes them. As I look at these adorable figures, I can’t help but think of how God made man with such perfection, such love. As with Sami’s characters, each is different. In Sami’s world, each character she makes has a name, identity, and story. There is no mistaking as to whom they belong to, and she is very protective of all of them. One day when she wasn’t at her table, I picked up one of the characters and hid it in my hand. When she came over to her table, she carefully took inventory. I am not kidding when I say she has a good ten pounds of clay on her table with 20-30 people, animals and objects she’s made. I honestly didn’t believe she’d notice one little figure missing. However, just like Jesus, when one sheep wanders off, he leaves the flock in hopes to find the lost one. Immediately she asks, “Where’s Mel? Where’s Mel? Mel is gone.” I open my hand and ask, “Is this Mel?” Quickly without hesitation, she grabs Mel from my hand and scolds me, “Miss Karen no take my Mel.” I hug her and apologize for taking her Mel. She lovingly gives Mel a kiss and gently places him in the exact spot in which he originally had been taken. She then turns to me and says, “It’s OK miss Karen. I forgive you now.” Tears pool in my eyes as I realize just how quickly she is to forgive someone doing ‘her wrong’ just like Jesus.
Sami brings a smile to my face no matter how tough of a morning I had with another student. She loves to please those who love her and without even trying will win over any person she comes in contact. God brought the two of us together for a purpose. I was hired to be her teacher, but in all honesty, she has taught me far more than I can ever teach her. She is my special angel.