Or, “What would Matthew do?”
Most people are familiar with the slogan WWJD (What would Jesus Do?) and many of my friends use this as a great moral code for their lives. I like it. It’s a good pause before doing or saying something really dumb.
This summer though, I have been thinking on a different line. Matthew and I have been here in the mountains alone during the week and we, meaning I, have been up on ladders painting, cleaning etc. It may be a little house but there always is plenty of upkeep. Remembering that no one ever called me Grace, sometimes what I do is, well, a little precarious. It takes a whole lot of angels to hold me up on those steep extension ladders.
And so I have been thinking, “What would Matthew do?” What would he do if I fell or was severely injured?
It’s a scary thought for me, often haunting the back of my mind. Those who know Matthew know and regular readers likely have gleaned that he does not talk. Even though he is very caring he shares many of the frightening autistic traits including introspection. He lives in his own little world. If the TV is on, if there is food available and if his computer runs, he is content. No doubt, visitors to our house have seen Matthew come to share news of something exciting on television or to show a great find in his TV Guide. But he only shares things of interest, convincing him to do something else, well, that’s a bigger challenge.
So would he come just to check on someone? I’m not sure. I know if I was conscious I could count on Matthew to seek out the phone but what if he couldn’t find my phone? (Yeah, a common occurrence in this house.) Would he walk down the road to Grandma’s by himself? If he did would he stand outside the gate because emotions are so intense that he can’t stand any extra attention? (When Matthew sees someone he loves i.e. Grandpa or even Dad his first inclination is to run and hide only coming out after they call his name. Strong emotions are very difficult for him to handle.)
Are we any different from so many of our caregiver friends? Or those who live alone? Am I just whining too much as usual? There is no doubt we are fortunate in that Matthew’s brain injuries came with birth allowing us to adapt and accept with him over time. We see daily the television commercials with the wounded warrior veterans whose severe injuries caused swift change and upheaval for the families. We can’t imagine their trials. We also know we are lucky that Matthew’s problems do not confine him to a wheelchair and that he can be mobile. We are blessed to have this son. Our lives and our focus on what is important are so enriched because of him.
Still, as I get ready to put the ladder away having finished painting I have to wonder. WWMD?
PS Now dear friends, do not go into a panic that tomorrow morning I might fall off the ladder and be stuck there for days. Our folks live just down the hill and you can be assured they check up on us regularly. In fact, if we don’t check in by three o’clock the phone rings and I’d better answer it 🙂