A.J. has a classmate named Jordan. Jordan was in his 6th grade class last year, and this year, they are in a few classes together in middle school. However, their lockers are side-by-side, so he and A.J. would briefly chat between classes while getting their things.

A little over a month ago, Jordan dropped his book one morning while switching classes. A.J. noticed, and after a few seconds, he offered to grab it. Jordan snapped at him, “Leave it alone. Leave me alone!” A.J. didn’t understand what he had done, and his feelings were hurt. He left for the next class, however. Jordan was still standing in the hallway alone…

The next day, after first period, Jordan dropped his book again. This time, he bent to pick it up, then yelled, “I can’t move up!” A.J. reached for his arm to help him, but again Jordan lashed out. Instantly, the geography teacher was at the lockers, and she thanked A.J. and ushered him into her classroom, telling him the principal would help Jordan.

The next morning, at the start of the day, the students were addressed. Jordan had been stricken with a severe muscle disease, and he was unable to move hardly anything. It had hit very suddenly, starting just two days before. The teachers answered a few questions, but much was unknown. Jordan didn’t have an official diagnosis, and he and his family were headed to Minneapolis for two weeks for answers.

A.J. came home talking about it, and that was the first I heard of the locker incidents. He explained everything as best he knew, but he still wondered why Jordan had yelled at him. I told him that Jordan had likely become VERY scared VERY suddenly, and he’d not known what was going on. (I can’t even imagine what the poor kid went through, as well as continues to go through.) A.J. could understand that, and he expressed a hope that Jordan would get better.

Two weeks ago, Jordan returned to school. As far as the kids know, his condition is still unclarified. He attends for two periods in the morning, and then he returns for the last period of the day. Earlier this week, we were discussing Jordan again, and I was getting those details from A.J. over dinner. He was explaining how either Jordan’s parents or the teachers wheel him everywhere. I asked suddenly, “Can he still move his fingers?”

A.J. answered that yes, he could. I then said, “Well, they make motorized wheelchairs that you can control with just your fingertips. I wonder why he doesn’t have one of those.” (I was speaking as quickly as I thought it.)

A.J. looked me square in the eye, tilted his head just a bit, and said softly, “Mom, his family can’t afford those kinds of wheelchairs.”

Oh, my my. Oh, my heart broke even more! I just hadn’t thought through all of it yet, you know? I am so clueless, so blessed by my healthy children and family, so very naive. The poor Chambers family!

I know the mother worked as the head cashier at Jack’s elementary school. She is a very friendly woman, always chatting nicely with me or Philip when we attend Jack’s lunch. Her daughter was on his indoor soccer team last winter, and they are a sweet family. She has had to quit her job to provide care full-time for Jordan, and I’m sure that is just a financial strain added to everything else. (I wondered where she had been for a few weeks. I hadn’t seen her several Wednesday lunches in a row.)

During conferences, the middle school had a lady selling jewelry in the hallway, and all of her profits were donated to the Chambers’ family. In addition, tomorrow night, the school is hosting a fun night for the kids, where they can come and party, paying extra for the chance to fight each other in Sumo wrestling suits. All of the admission costs and proceeds will be donated to the family as well.

I’ve asked both schools to let me know if I can bake something for future events – something they can sell and turn the money toward the family. The elementary principal hadn’t even thought of having an event before, but hopefully now there will be something planned. In the meantime, all our prayers go out to Jordan Chambers and his family.

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