Sometimes, even when it's been a good week, the roller coaster starts to get to you. The ups and downs take their toll on your already busy head and heart, and the twists and turns seem greater in the blur of decisions, plans, schedules, and everyday chores. Then add the fog of answering the same question about the same thing in rapid fire succession most of the day, and it doesn't take much to throw you off. Just a little thing can hit you out of nowhere in this state.
Try as I might, I can't seem to be smooth all the time. Calm, easy, ready to roll with it does not come naturally. In visiting with Ryan's therapist the other day, I remarked that you just don't realize how selfish you are until you have a special needs child... or any child.
It's a tricky thing, living with autism. It's a tightrope walk to say the least. When things are going well, it's amazing. People "ooh" and "aah" at the neat things he does and says, and pat you on the back for what a great job you do. But fall a little to the left or right, and you're left with a broken heart and crushed spirit. You want to be optimistic, happy, peaceful, joyful, and the picture of kindness and gentleness to your kids. But unfortunately we're fallible.
I can remember, two months after quite traumatically miscarrying our second child, that a night came when I just couldn't wake Eric anymore to be with me while I cried... again. I remember distinctly laying in bed, angrily shaking my fist at God for allowing this to happen... for making me incapable for even protecting a child inside my own body. I remember standing over Ryan's crib while he slept, tears streaming down my face, heart pounding at the thought that I couldn't protect him. I needed sleep. There, in the stillness of the night, watching my son's chest rise and fall in the moonlight, reality of my need to trust God in all things met my need to be in control.
Will you trust me?
Through these circumstances, for the first time, I had a hard time answering that inquiry.
But this is my baby boy! You don't understand!
But, of course, God does understand. His baby boy tasted death so that I could be in fellowship with him.
I had no idea at that time what Ryan would face. Autism wasn't a word spoken in our house. My worry at that point was when I could get pregnant again, and that I'd be able to carry that child to term. I have to say I was afraid of coming as close to death as I did with that second pregnancy. I didn't know that God would give me two more beautiful, healthy children, finishing the gift of two boys and a girl, in that order that I'd always wanted. All I knew was that I couldn't keep on hurting like this. The only way out was to reach out, take His hand, and get up in the morning trusting that He is in control.
Now I sit here a few years later with my big boy at school, my sweet younger son and daughter playing at my feet, and I wish I could say that I've mastered letting go. You'd think I'd have the need for control, well, under control by now, but I don't. See? I think I can control my need for control! How ridiculous!
Little things trip me. Too often I've busied myself so much with things... even things that are inherently "good" like cleaning, sewing, gardening, church things... in such great supply that I start to think again that all I need is to keep a good hold on things to be okay. Keep all these plates spinning, dazzling the crowd, while giving a nod to God every now and again. Gradually, my ability to spin those plates begins to edge out my faith. Control begins to shove faith aside, eventually causing me to fall, scrape my knees, and run back to the Father.
The trick, I guess, is to keep walking. Remember the tightrope, watch my footing. Balance resting in the net that will surely catch me when I fall (no "if I fall"... it's definitely when... several times a day) with the knowledge of how fallible I am. Remember, when the crowd shares its opinion, that the crowd is not what I live and breathe in pursuit of. Living for the crowd will cause me to fall one way or the other, in pride or in sorrow. The only true happiness and joy, from my experience, is found in seeking that balance, eyes forward, trusting Him not to make my next step successful, but to be my sustainer, repairer, and my peace whether I succeed or fail. And when I do fail, when I do wander off, to be thankful for the voice of the Shepherd who calls me back to the fold.
Forever, by the grace of God, will I be grateful for this walk!