Courage—-With a Smile!

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Wednesday morning, 8 November 2017 [Grandparents’ Day])

Let us remember we are in the holy presence of a loving God.

Good morning La Salle and a special welcome to our grandparents that are visiting their grandchildren today at the Academy.  We hope you enjoy your day and can get a glimpse of the great things your grandchildren are doing.

Take a moment to think about a five year old that may be your daughter, son, niece, cousin, friend, sister, brother, or for all our grandparents here, your grandchild.  Think about what they spend their time doing and what is adventurous to them.  I would assume whatever comes to mind is something that may include running, jumping, dancing, or playing outside.

Last year I had the privilege to be an assistant teacher in a class with a five year old named Addie.  Addie was born with achondroplasia and suffers from the struggles of dwarfism.  However, this did not stop Addie.  In our dance class, she was far from a complainer and held a contagious smile on her face.

Towards the beginning of the summer I found out Addie would be having surgery on both of her legs due to tremendous pain she was in.  I was shocked.  I had no clue the pain Addie was in behind the smile she was showing all of us.  I had assumed Addie would not be in class for the first two months of the dance season, due to being in full casts and being in a wheelchair.  However, to my surprise on the first day of classes, in walked Addie’s mom holding a very happy Addie tight in her arms in her cute ballerina outfit.

No, Addie could not walk, but this did not stop her one bit.  I placed her on the floor of the classroom and for an hour Addie and I played games, stretched, and helped clean up after her friends.  Using the strength in her arms, Addie crawled around the room picking up bean bags and racing with her friends.  When her friends were doing leaps and jumps, Addie and I sat to the side and I played the games Addie made up with her beautiful imagination.

I was mesmerized by her strength, and the composure she held throughout these two months of classes where she had to accept she was not physically capable to do what her friends around her were doing.

The day Addie walked in without casts was a beautiful day, but it was not much easier. Although, to no surprise, Addie did not back down.  Addie was learning to walk on two new legs.  Her ability she had acquired to walk (around the age of one and a half) had been taken away from her and she had to relearn.

The Saturday mornings that I spend with Addie are very special to me.  They open my eyes to something I would have never imagined would have to happen to a sweet little five year old girl.  But more than that, I am truly inspired by the perseverance that Addie has to not give up and to make herself better and stronger to get through this battle she is fighting.

I ask you again to take a moment to think about the five year old you thought of at the beginning of this prayer and imagine if you had to witness this happen to him or her.  It is amazing what you can learn from young children and how much they can teach us when they are not even aware.

Let us pray—

Please let us acknowledge all that we have to be thankful for and the simple thanks of having the God- given gift of having two legs to walk on.

And more than that, let us pray for the beauty of children and all that they can teach us on a daily basis.  And of course, a special prayer for Addie who deserves praise every day for what she continues to fight through.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle…Pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts…Forever.

Courtney Caccia–Class of 2018

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