Here I am at my kitchen table, keeping up with sixteen-year-old Taylor as he uses his Pac Mate to annotate a book that he chose for summer reading. Blind since birth, Taylor’s life has been complicated by a number of other physical challenges, but he’s not letting them get in the way of learning!
Earlier this year, before the end of school, I sat down with Taylor and his great-grandparents, who are raising him. I wanted to give Taylor the same opportunity that I gave other blind youth in the Lowcountry area, to choose some goals for the summer which the Youth Chaplaincy could help them work towards achieving. Taylor had lots of great ideas: to improve his confidence in the kitchen and in socializing at mealtimes; to study the art of singing country music; to improve his reading and note taking skills; to learn typing on a standard computer keyboard and of course, to play at least one computer game (which he had never done before). His grandma and grandpa agreed enthusiastically, and we planned a summer schedule of their visits to my Charleston, SC headquarters.
In just a few weeks’ time, Taylor has gone from slowly and methodically brailing his notes, to growing in speed and accuracy as he blitzes them out on his Pac Mate or on a desktop computer. He has to date learned to play at least five computer games, accessible to those of us who are blind. Today, he helped prepare lunch and seems to enjoy more and more the custom of eating and visiting as we sit around the table. I would be proud to allow him to give an invocation before a meal on any occasion. He is almost ready to make his first professional-level recording of a country song, and he is learning that it is much more fun to improve one’s own voice than to try to sing like somebody else, even if that person is famous.
Taylor and his grandparents tell my associates and me how much they appreciate the time that we spend with them. Really, we are the ones truly blessed. I never cease to be inspired by the determination of this bright young man and those two dear folks who encourage and support him in his education, his recreation and his growing Christian faith.
Sometimes, God calls me to put on my Sunday best and evangelize His Good News through word and song. At other times, He calls me to don a comfortable pair of jeans and a T-shirt and accompany one of His special kids for a time, on one individual journey, at no cost to that child or that child’s family. It is truly not I, but Christ in me, Who does this work.
I thank God, and thank you, for the ongoing prayers, support and sponsorship, which keep my life of music and ministry going, and growing!
Stay tuned for more posts like this.
Until next time, God bless you and keep His Song in your heart!
© 2010 by Laurel Jean Walden