Sometimes your minister is a global guru imparting wisdom upon the masses. Sometimes your minister is in the church or spiritual center you attend on Sunday. Sometimes your minister is a close friend who sees past your masks. Sometimes however your minister comes from a most unlikely place. Sometimes your minister is a ten year old young man who is having a rough morning.
You see, I volunteer for our local church’s youth education program on Sundays. But lets me clear. I work well with the Jr high school program. I understand those kids. I mentor them. I challenge them. I listen to them. The littles scare the hell out of me. Their energy levels are way off of mine. They have the attention span of a caffeinated flea, I just don’t have the slightest comfort with the grade school set.
Another group that I struggle with is those with special needs. As I have written openly about, I have bipolar disorder and managing that is a full time gig. Littles that have these challenges pull at my heart strings but I feel I am typically ill equipped to work well with them.
Enter Aiden. Aiden has special needs. He has diagnosis’ that I don’t need to get into but he has some prominent challenges. He can have difficulty communicating with others. It can be difficult for him to focus and it can be very challenging for him to control his emotions. He is, however, an amazing person, and a wonderful minister and teacher.
Aiden was not in a very good space when he arrived in our classroom on Sunday. He was having difficulty with many of the aspects of his life that can be off. Things had arrived at a point that we considered calling dad and asking him to come up. Instead Rev MaryEllen said, “Jason, I am asking you to be Aiden’s special buddy today. All you have to do is just hang out with him and help him be Aiden.” My first internal reaction was, “are you mad?” followed by, “this will end badly”.
However, something amazing happened. Aiden and I sat down and colored teddy bears for a while. He picked my colors and on which parts to use what crayon. We worked on the lesson together and came up with a silly game with our craft element. We blew bubbles together outside for the end of the lesson. We had disagreements, we had discussions, and we made corrections. Things didn’t always go 100% smooth, but through the process of the lesson and the hour we had, his entire day turned and at the end, every got hugs from Aiden.
So how was Aiden my minister, my teacher, on Sunday? Aiden taught me patience. He gave me understanding. He gave me confidence. Aiden showed me who he was and how to work with him to achieve a good outcome for challenging situations. We, as adults, are supposed to be teaching the children the principles of our spiritual path but on this day, I was the student and Aiden was the guru imparting wisdom upon me. We are all children of God and we are inherently good. Prayer mediation and reflection work. How we think determines where we are. We know these things and we must walk in them, not just talk about them. Aiden didn’t need to be taught these things. I had to be reminded of these things. The universe, and Rev M, decided to put me in that situation and take me to school.
I don’t think I got an A for the day, but I think I passed. I do know, that as we pulled out of the parking lot and I cried, I felt very blessed to have spent an hour of my time with that amazing minister, that most amazing young man.
Thank you Aiden