Rudy the Red-nosed Reindeer!

Last month we had the pleasure of a visit from Nick and Jeni Busta…you may remember that we first met this sweet couple at the Heart Walk back in September and had hoped for a chance to follow up with them.  Jeni is a HLHS survivor and spends a great deal of her time encouraging and supporting CHD families.  It was fascinating and extremely helpful for me to talk with someone who is able to articulate the challenges that accompany HLHS…I’ve wondered many times if there are unseen side effects for Rudy related to his HLHS that he is unable to tell us about.  Jeni confirmed that there is, indeed, the potential for chronic back pain and chest pain as these are things she battles each day.  I appreciated her candor and honesty in sharing about her experiences growing up…the things she wishes now she had (i.e. certain types of therapy) and the choices she’s grateful were made along the way.  Although I know each journey with HLHS is a very different path, it was encouraging to talk with an adult survivor who knows firsthand what Rudy is going through.  Talking with Jeni also reminded me that as much as we try to treat Rudy like a “normal” kid and encourage him to do all he is motivated to try, he has limitations that will frustrate him and he’ll need to be encouraged through them whether those limitations are temporary or permanent.

Olivia was particularly affected by Jeni’s stories of being bullied in school when she was young and I know she’s been thinking about them since.  Just a few days ago, Livy and I were in the kitchen when Dean Martin’s version of “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer” came on the radio.  When Deano sang “Rudy the red-nosed reindeer”, we laughed and said “Hey, it’s Rudy’s song”.  A couple of minutes later, Olivia asked “I wonder if what happens in that song will happen to Rudy?…I wonder if Rudy will be made fun of and bullied for his disability but then be asked to do something really special and important and then he’ll be a hero?”  Sweet girl…I love the way she thinks and her sensitivity toward Rudy. There is a lot to ponder in that question but I think we’re all a lot like Rudolph…we all have things that could be considered a flaw or disability that God desires to use for a special purpose.  When we live out that purpose, we become a hero to those we serve and, more importantly, God’s plans are accomplished through us!  Jeni is certainly a hero to many as are Rudy and the big sibs to me.  I pray that we’ll recognize God’s purpose in our weaknesses, that many heroic acts will fill this holiday season and that God will be glorified in it all!  ‘So grateful today for the many lessons we’re learning along the way.

Fun with Jeni, Nick and their niece and nephew!  :)
Fun with Jeni, Nick and their niece and nephew! 🙂

Of course, God gifts us with amazing strengths as well and I’m so glad our friend CeCe (and Rudy’s God-sister ;- ))blessed us with one of hers…look what she painted for Rudy for his birthday!  I love her interpretation of Rudy’s Heart filled with such color and life!  Thank you CeCe…keep up the great work young friend!  If Rudy’s Beat were a book, this would be my choice for the cover!!  Ha 🙂

Rudy's Heart...all dolled up!
Rudy’s Heart…all dolled up!

10 thoughts on “Rudy the Red-nosed Reindeer!

  1. love this post. Olivia is so sweet and thoughtful. Everyone has been bullied in school one way or another at some point. I remember I would get teased about my red hair and freckles in first grade. Oh how I wish I had that beautiful red hair now. but God did come through for me and now I get many compliments on my “white hair” and most of the freckles are gone, only to be replaced with a few age spots. 🙂
    Rudy will be able to handle anything with the love and support of all of you. Anyone hurts our guy and they will deal with Rolf and his big bros! 😉

  2. I love the photo. I hope Jeni will keep in touch and come to our next NICU reunion in 2014. It would be so wonderful to meet her after caring for her so many years ago. She would be a blessing to our new families as well. Cici’s picture is BEAUTIFUL and could be an advertisement for AHA. Your family is fantastic and i wish you all a very Blessed Christmas for all the gifts you give us all.

  3. Oh….how awesome to be able to talk to Jeni and get a better understanding!!!! I love Livy’s insight the Rudy story!!! CC feels honored that you like her painting 🙂

  4. Know what? I love you, too. May God Bless you, Rudy and family!!
    None of us knows what tomorrow will bring except we know we have an eternity to enjoy together……….Love, Grandma Jo

  5. Ah, yes, well said, Grandma Jo, I concur! And with you, too, Trish when you write, “we all have things that could be considered a flaw or disability that God desires to use for a special purpose.” Yep! Our Father uses us all… all we have to do is be willing to be used! Merry Blessed Christmas you all of you Geylings, families and friends!

  6. We are ALL blessed by Rudy’s presence, he is a gift to all even if some dont see it and will not see it. He has made us see the right way. With Love O + O
    I love CC ‘s Picture

  7. This was one of the best posts so far…makes my heart so happy to know that you guys were given a hopeful glimpse into Rudy’s future…what a wonderful young woman to reach outside of herself like that, instead of being consumed with her challenges. It struck me that I bet a good deal of her outlook is the result of good parenting …keep up the great work you guys- all that good parenting and “brothering” and “sistering” that Rudy is benefitting from. Love you guys immensely! And miss you too…sniff!

  8. I have always noticed that young children are sensitive to the message of “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer”. If we can keep in touch with that sense of caring and understanding, the world will be a better place. Your/our very own Rudy is a local hero, helping us all to absorb the meaning of life and joy and unconditional love. Merry Christmas to all the Gehlings!

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