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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Do You Know an Angel?

We have a friend who goes to the same high school as my kids. He's in the neighboring ward. Anyone who knows him will figure out who I'm talking about rather quickly, but I'm choosing to keep him nameless because I didn't ask his parents' permission to write about him today.

I'm sharing this because yesterday, he was the highlight of my day.

This young man has special needs. I believe he is somewhere on the autism spectrum. I don't mean the Aspergers Syndrome end of that spectrum. I mean another part. Not knowing the entire spectrum, I can't tell you much more than "another part."

I first met him while sitting at church one evening. I sat in the foyer. I'm sure I was waiting for my children to be done with their youth activities or something, but here he came. He walked up to me wearing his Cub scout shirt, said hello, and gave me a hug as if I were his best friend. That was when we was about 9-years-old.

I had never met this boy before, but I thought his hug, upon first meeting me, was sweet, and I hugged him back. He seemed to be lost, so I tried to help him find those he was supposed to be with. He was quickly reunited with them, and I went back to waiting for my kids.

As time has gone on, we've become better acquainted with this young man's family and have now interacted with them all from time to time through both church and school activities. They are FABULOUS people. The kind that are blessed to raise this kind of child. The kind who are entrusted to love and care for children with special needs.

This young man runs track and cross country. He sings in the school choir. His parents love him deeply and allow him to build his God-given talents even though I'm sure there are many things this boy struggles with.

Yesterday morning, bright and early, I found a post on my Facebook wall. It was a surprise, and I thought for sure he must have posted the message on many walls, and it didn't matter if he did. I still felt special that he felt it important to tell me: "Hi Julie Today's my Birthday and I'm 17 Years Old."

I quickly replied and moved on with my day, and a very busy one it was. Near the end of the evening was #3's choir concert. Two people over from #3 was this young man--singing his heart out with his Santa hat on his head.

I love how this kid lets his light shine, and no one is a stranger to him. He loves everybody--even the complete stranger sitting in the foyer at church.

After the concert, I caught up with my daughters and before I knew it, there was this young man. He gave us each a hug just like he always does. I wished him a happy birthday, and the next thing I knew, he was handing me two pieces of paper. One was a menu to a restaurant. I didn't really look at the other at that time. I said, "It's YOUR birthday, and you're giving ME a present?"

His response: "Yah." His tone was as if he was saying, "Of course."

I told him how thoughtful that was of him. His dad took a picture of him, my girls, and me (his dad's great for that--always has a camera in his hand. Many of the photos of have of my kids at sporting events are thanks to this man), and we left.

It was much later when I got home and found what I'd been handed. #2 was in the room as I was looking at the menu and the other piece of paper. I told him what I'd been given. He explained, "Mom, that's his favorite restaurant." On the front, written in his very careful handwriting was:

To: Julie Hess
From: [his name] (with a smiley face)

The other piece of paper was very carefully written instructions on how to get from my house to the restaurant. He must have taken the time to look up our address on mapquest or something, as our address had an "A" in a circle, and the restaurant's address had a "B" in a circle. Again, at the bottom was written:

To: Julie Hess
From: [his name] (with a smiley face)

I was so touched that I have somehow fallen into this sweet boy's radar. With a friend like this, I know I'll have one for life. I was so overcome by his gesture.

I guess we're going to have to go check out this amazing restaurant now. We don't really have an excuse anymore; the directions are all there. Maybe his family will have to come along.

There are souls that walk this earth that are so pure and good. Their intentions are without guile. This young man is one of these. I feel blessed to be among his friends. I feel like an angel took the time for me. I wonder if someday he'll vouch for me and tell Heavenly Father that I was his friend. Do you think that'll give me an in?

I am grateful to know an angel.

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