When I took this photo, little Mitch and Ethan were racing down a slippy-slide on their tummies. I loved watching these little kids be kids. 

At one point they decided to slide down together at the same time. When they reached the bottom they both sat up and laughed as only little boys know to do. Ethan then reached around his little brother and gave him a big hug. Mitch smiled and hugged him back, then a few seconds later kissed him on the cheek. I posted that photo some time ago. 

As I watched these little brothers, my little boys, be good to each other my heart swelled with a love that was eternal – a kind of love that is not from this place. I don’t know what little Mitch was thinking at the moment of this photo, but I can’t help but wonder if he was learning love. 

Mitch was a quiet, reflective thinker. His facial expressions often revealed he was thinking deeply on a topic. And his eyes … oh, his eyes … there were layers within layers. Sometimes, when we had father-son time, Mitch would share his observations (which were startlingly perceptive) about adults, peers and life in general. Though he wasn't a boy of many words, and his vocabulary was limited to that of a young child, he had moments where his words were deeper than deep. 

There was one point in Mitchell’s young life, not too long before we discovered his heart was in trouble, he had an aide who was unkind to him. In fact, from what I can tell, she was rude and borderline abusive to him. It broke my heart to learn such things. When we learned of the trouble Mitch was having and the things she did and said, you can bet we intervened. To my dismay, this woman never owned up to her behavior and had a pocket-full of cheap excuses. She was reassigned. I was sad for her and confused why she would be unkind to a little boy who struggled in ways healthy children did not. As I struggled to understand why she was the way she was, I remembered the saying “those who hurt people, hurt.” 

My point isn't to excite Mitchell’s Journey readers to anger that someone would be unkind to Mitch. Please, let that go. Instead, I want to draw focus to Mitchell’s response to those who were unkind to him. When I asked Mitch how he felt about things he said, “Dad, I just try to see with my heart.” I was taken aback by his statement and asked, “What do you mean, son?” Mitch replied, “When you see with your heart, you see everything that matters. She doesn't mean to be rude.” He didn't know what else to say or how to describe how he was feeling – but I could tell he had already forgiven the woman who was unkind. He saw more than I saw. He saw a soul in need of love and understanding. I remember crying when Mitch shared his thoughts of forgiveness and love. I said to my son, “Mitch, who were you before you came here?” I had the feeling his soul, wrapped inside that broken body, was much older than mine. With that, I kissed him on the forehead and we drove to an ice cream shop and talked about some upcoming movies he wanted to see.

When you see with your heart, you see everything that matters. Wow. I wasn't seeing with my heart, but instead my troubled mind. I was upset and, in truth, I had feelings of recrimination. But Mitch saw something different … he saw with his heart and that freed his heart from anger. 

I have been hurt a time or two in my life. I know how intoxicating anger can be and the prison it can become. I also know when people do us wrong the very act of forgiveness might seem nearly impossible. But Mitch taught me how to see with my heart and remember that we all come from the same place and we all have the same Father. 

Though we may be strangers in life, when we see with our heart we realize we are no different than these brothers in this photo. We are family ... a human family with a common spiritual source and we are here to learn love. When I remember that, when I see with my heart, I see everything that matters.