When God gives you a lifeboat…

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An Alumna’s Story

by American Rodriguez, SFI graduate, Delta 16

A fellow was stuck on his rooftop in a flood. He was praying to God for help.

Soon a man in a rowboat came by and the fellow shouted to the man on the roof, “Jump in, I can save you.”

The stranded fellow shouted back, “No, it’s OK, I’m praying to God and he is going to save me.”

So the rowboat went on.

Then a motorboat came by. “The fellow in the motorboat shouted, “Jump in, I can save you.”

To this the stranded man said, “No thanks, I’m praying to God and he is going to save me. I have faith.”

So the motorboat went on.

Then a helicopter came by and the pilot shouted down, “Grab this rope and I will lift you to safety.”

To this the stranded man again replied, “No thanks, I’m praying to God and he is going to save me. I have faith.”

So the helicopter reluctantly flew away.

Soon the water rose above the rooftop and the man drowned. He went to Heaven. He finally got his chance to discuss this whole situation with God, at which point he exclaimed, “I had faith in you but you didn’t save me, you let me drown. I don’t understand why!”

To this God replied, “I sent you a rowboat and a motorboat and a helicopter, what more did you expect?”

I had an experience I consider as one of those lifeboats God has given me at the monthly Alumni reunion. I was concerned about my oldest son’s recent autism diagnosis and didn’t feel like I wanted to go to the dinner. I decided to go with hope that I would find some answers to my many questions. I started talking to some of my classmates about my child’s diagnosis and talked out loud about the situation. Rosaura (Alumni Coordinator) asked if she could sit with us and asked what we were talking about. I explained that my oldest son Andrew had been diagnosed with autism and that my head is swirling with questions and concerns. She looked to her left, pointed to someone I had never seen before, and said, “Talk to Fele.” Fele had attended one of the very first SFI classes.

We began talking and I wondered why I had never seen her in any of the other reunions. Fele said that she had moved to a city far from Anaheim. Our conversation went on and she mentioned she had tons of personal experience dealing with Autism spectrum and the IEP process with the school. Fele had fought over 18 years with the school district over the best education plan the school could offer for both of her children. She gave me a few tips and told me to not give up and always ask for help. The night was ending so we exchanged phone numbers and I felt much better about my son’s future in education and the lifeboat I was sent that will see help us through the journey.

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