Walking a Country Mile With One Another

     Thank you all so much for your prayers and sweet words for William.  He’s doing great!  The pneumonia symptoms are gone and he’s had no asthma symptoms since late Sunday night.  I’m so very thankful!  He’s still dealing just a bit with side effects from the antibiotics, but those will pass with time.  We’re switching this evening from oral steroids to an inhaler steroid.  I’m curious to see if and  how his side effects change with the change in medication.
     Long time readers know that my
Will has Tourette Syndrome.  As with most Touretters, Will’s tics wax and wane.  His tics will completely disappear for a season, only to come back more numerous than ever.  Various things contribute to the waxing and waning of the tics – illness, stress, excitement, medications, a growth spurt.  We just never know and, truthfully, it doesn’t much matter.  What matters is how he feels about the tics, and he’s usually okay with them.  Sometimes, though, the tics cause him pain (headaches caused from repetitive, vigorous head shaking) and/or might be physically harmful (head banging).  When that happens we help him find a new tic that will give him the same physical relief from the need to tic without causing him pain or injury.
      The combination of his recent illness, the use of the Albuterol inhaler, and the introduction of steroids has really ramped things up for him.  His current vocal tic is to say (or yell) “pants”, or to tell us “These are not my pants”.  We have a dear young man to thank for introducing
this song to us last summer; and actually it’s pretty funny to all of us, Will included.  (We love you, Brian and Christina!)  Will’s vocal tics have always been something that makes us smile.
     His physical tics right now are mostly facial – rapid and tight eye blinking, eye rolling, winking – but picture that all happening at the same time and repeatedly all day long.  Surprisingly, Will seems completely unhindered with all of that going on, and he’s reading as much, or more, than ever despite all of that happening with his eyes.  Amazing!

     I cannot even imagine what life must be like for my William.  I watch him.  I love him.  I know him.  But I haven’t a clue what it’s like to live with the unrelenting, irresistible, necessary need to do these things, only to need to do them again and again and again.  I see folks stare at him in disapproval when we’re out and about, and I want to say, “Until you’ve walked a mile in this little boy’s shoes, don’t judge him.  Or me.”

      And then the Holy Spirit gives me that little nudge.  You know the one, the nudge that says, take that beam out of your own eye before you try to help your brother with the speck in his eye.  That nudge.

     It’s so easy for me to look at a situation –

  • that man in the store who stared in disgust at my son
  • a neighbor’s reclusiveness
  • a friend’s parenting choices
  • a teen’s taste in music
  • that older gal who never has anything positive to say

– and judge based on the externals.  Guess what?  It’s not our job to make those judgments!  That’s God’s job, and we’re seriously overstepping our bounds when we try to put ourselves in the place of God to judge our brother.  Or sister.  Or even those outside the faith.  We also put ourselves into the precarious position of inviting judgment in return.  Take a look at the first few verses of Matthew 7, and see for yourself.  A bit further along, in verse 12, Jesus tells us to treat one another as we’d hope to be treated.  Wouldn’t I rather have my brother or sister come along side of me and walk with me through a struggle, than have them stand back in judgment of me?  Shouldn’t I assume that they would desire the same thing from me?  In the case of someone who doesn’t know the Lord, shouldn’t the first thought on my mind be to tell them about Jesus rather than to stand in judgment of them?
      I need to be willing to walk a long country mile with someone,  rather than judge them.  I can offer to take the reclusive neighbor to town once in awhile, or to stay with her while workers are in her home making repairs.  Maybe I should take an interest in those teenagers, find out what’s going on in their lives, what interests them, and find a way to support those interests.  What can I say, or do, for the struggling mom or the gal who has not a good word to say about anything?  What would they think if I offered to pray for them?  What would happen if I did it?

       The rain has poured today, the sun has shone and we’ve had thunder and hail.  It’s been glorious, and grand, and a great day to continue pulling my house back into order and homeschool my boys.  As I dusted and cleaned today, working in my back hall, laundry room and our master bedroom, I placed and lit small, scented votive candles in all three rooms.  A spicy, cinnamon scent for the back hall, a fresh-washed linen for the laundry room and rose for the bedroom.  Walking from room to room, sitting at the table with one of my boys and a grammar lesson, or folding and putting away laundry, was a multi-sensory delight.  Not only do most of my rooms look clean, but they smell wonderful; and the sound of rain, hail and thunder just added to my enjoyment.  In the spirit of full disclosure, you should know that I also have several candles lit on my mantle, which is very dusty.  The living room will be tended to tomorrow, and the dust vanquished, but we enjoyed the warmth of the candlelight today despite the dust.  I’m content with the way things are. 

     I’m content, but I don’t want to rest in my contentment with a judgmental heart.  I’m praying and asking the Lord to show me where I might be looking in judgment at another and asking Him to show me how I might walk a country mile at their side instead.  Join me?

God bless you as you look well to the ways of your household!
Proverbs 31:27

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10 comments to Walking a Country Mile With One Another

  • So glad to hear William is doing better   Wow, thank you – I needed this post!

  • I watched a made for TV movie recently, the true story of a man with severe Tourettes who overcame all obstacles to follow his dream of being a school teacher.  He ended up being named the Teacher of the Year (either for his state or city).

    It was very touching, showing what these kids go through because people don’t understand their symptoms and then what having people believe in them can help them accomplish.

    We think Elisabeth has a type of Tourettes, her symptoms include shaking her hands when she gets stressed or over excited.

  • @PreschoolersandPeace – Right back at ya!  

    @MotherHen1966 – I needed this post, too!  Let’s thank God together for His faithfulness!

    @BrendaKayN –   Yes!!  I read, and reviewed, his book, last year, I think. 

  • just wondering, as you mentioned the multi-sensory experience in your home today —

    do you find that feeding Will’s sensory system helps with the tics at all?  i’m trying to figure Isaac’s out, since his system has been turned “on” again.

    these boys really keep us on our toes, don’t they?   and…

    I love it!!!

  • @ObtainingMercy – I love it, too, Alesha!!  The tics are the tics are the tics.  Sensory issues do come into play, but not so much with the tics.  He was miserable the first time he went to Disneyland, and it took us the entire trip to realize it was because the rides were all so LOUD (music, voices, etc.).  He handled it much better on his second visit.  Noise is a factor with Will, but not so much with the tics.  The sensory issues were more mood/behavior related.  As he’s gotten older, he’s able to use some self-control over those sensory/processing issues.  Not entirely, but definitely better with age.  Not sure if that helps, but can I just say again how thankful I am that your Isaac is doing so well!

  • My oldest daughter has tourettes.  Hers shows it self as a “wink” in her left eye.  It too comes and goes based on many things.  She is 21 now and recognizes the “triggers”.  Not that she can do much about them, usually it’s when she is overly stressed.

  • Happy he is doing much better…:)

  • That lifts me up that Micheal doesn’t let TS get in his way- living life to it’s fullest 😀


  • I’ve been away for a while and missed some of your posts. I was just beginning to read them when I read this one and had to stop to write you a note of appreciation. I have some children that I’ve had difficulties with, but none have had to deal with on-going physical trials. I can only begin to imagine what your sweet William is dealing with and how you feel when people look at you with disapproval when you are out. There is a mom who comes to the library near my home with her two daughters. Both daughters are beautiful and appear physically normal but one of them is definitely dealing with some kind of disability-I have no idea what it is but she tends to be loud and at times uncontrollable. This sweet mother does her level best to meet the needs of both of her children while getting all sorts of disapproving looks from the other library patrons. I have always felt for her because I knew that she was doing her best–she has one daughter who needs to be there so that she can get books and materials for school but she spends so much time and energy dealing with the other daughter while there that I want to help her and make things easier for her–I just don’t know how. (Other than offering smiles of understanding) Your post has made me think of the times that I haven’t been so understanding–in this family’s case, it’s easy to see what she’s dealing with, but in cases that may not be so clear (like your’s with Will) I maybe haven’t been so understanding.  If nothing else, your post has made me aware and I will resolve to be more understanding and less judgemental–afterall, I haven’t walked a mile in anyone’s shoes but mine!