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Is That You, Undiagnosed Disability? Because All I See is Joy.

Hey you, developmental disability of unknown origin but fits the profile of Angelman syndrome, which one in this photo is you? All I see is joy.

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Joy — that term that’s not the same as happiness. Happiness is momentary; joy is sustained contentment, even in the face of adversity.

Hey you, 28 years of developmental disability, your lack of spoken words or lack of mobility didn’t rob this family of our joy. You thought you had us with the sleepless nights, the illnesses, my son’s inability to understand beyond what a toddler comprehends… Ha! You can’t take our joy. Our joy goes way deeper than the roadblocks and detours you threw at us.

Our son, Matt, is evidence of our joy. We believe Matt was made by God, and God is our source of joy. We have gained nothing from you, developmental disability, but we gained everything from watching God use Matt as a compass to guide us to joy. Matt laughs when we want to cry. He’s content, even when his choices and desires are not fulfilled. He’s kind, even when someone might not show him kindness. He’s full of hope each day. He displays the fruits of the spirit effortlessly: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. His example teaches others. He models for me, his dad, his brothers and all who come in contact with him. He models the joy of living a life full of grace and sustained contentment.

So, developmental disability, you didn’t take anything from us. Matt came to us in your packaging, but we continue to experience his gift of joy as each year goes by.

We choose God, we choose joy and we choose Matt!


For all of March, The Mighty is asking its readers the following: If you could write a letter to the disability or disease you (or a loved one) face, what would you say to it? If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to [email protected] Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio.

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