It was the first day we had met this man. He had come to judge what our house was worth. He walked from room to room while I hung my head. Our house was full of dirt and left to waste while I tried my best to care for our kids and their needs. It made me cringe.
The house and our lives were a mess, and I did not like it one bit. That day, I was on edge at the thought of a man who's job it was to take a keen eye to our roof, walls, and floors. I felt shame.
I wished I was able to keep all the balls in the air.
He was quiet as he walked in front of me. I stared at his back and felt fear for the words he did not say. Was this place as bad as I thought? At the door to our son's room, he stopped. His eye had caught a view of our guy as he paced back and forth by the side of his bed.
One or more of these...
"Hi there!" the man called out to him.
Our son did not greet him. He just paced. Back and forth. Back and forth.
"Can he hear me?" the man asked me. It caught me off guard.
"He can hear but he can't talk," I told him. "He sees us but he won't look. Right now, he's scared by you, and the only way he knows to cope is to pace."
I watched the face of this man as he, in turn, watched our son.
"Why is he scared?" he asked, not able to grasp our son's needs.
"You're new," I said. "Things that are new are hard for him. Lights, sounds and touch are hard for him.Yet, when he saw you, he did not run from the room like he used to do. That's growth!"
I told our son that I was proud of him for his hard work. Then, I walked on so that this man could get back to his task. But the man did not move. He looked at me with tears in his eyes and said, " I could cry right now."
He stood still and watched our son pace and play with his most loved toy.
"There's a lot in life that he can do, " I said to him at last. "Like most kids, he has things that he must learn to do; but, I know that he'll find his way. Just wait and see."
The look on this man's face was not so sure. I left him with his thoughts as we went through the rest of the house and then thanked him for his time as he walked out the door. Our son had shown this man a side of life with needs that he did not know. Glad that we could do that, I went on with the day with no more thoughts of him.
The next day, the man called me.
"Since I left your house, I can't get your son off of my mind," he said. "From now on, I'm sure that when I see his toy, I'll think of him."
I was touched.
Then he said, "Please let me waive my fee. I would like to gift it to a group that can help to teach what I learned in your home."
My home. My mess of a home. And, here I was so scared of the filth that he would see that I did not think of what else he might see. Our needs. Our hope. Our lives.
I'd sold him short. I'd sold us all short.
He made the gift to a group and hung up the phone. That night, as I went to sleep, I felt a sense of peace for some of the fires we've had in our life.
I've not seen nor talked to that man since that day he called. At this point, I don't know his name. Yet, just as he said he will think of our son, I'm also sure that I will think of him. He saw our world and was changed by it. For that, I was changed, too.
Our house is a big, fat mess. I still don't like it, but that's a fact that might stay true for some time. Past the mess, though, there are gifts that we have gained from this life of ours. I'd lost sight of that and am glad that this man came to our home. As I face our filth each day, it helps to think of our boys and all they have to give.
When I do so, I am able to see that there is so much more to us than our mess.
This entry was written in response to a ridiculously hard challenge issued by The Group Blogging Experience 2 (GBE 2). "Blog using only single syllables."
Photos courtesy of MorgueFile