Friday, July 6, 2012

.38 Special Theology

"Hold on loosely but don't let go;
If you cling too tightly you're gonna lose control.
Your baby needs something to believe in
and a whole lotta space to breathe in."
~.38 Special

Every once in a while being raised on classic rock comes in handy.  Not near often enough, though.  It was terribly frustrating in college as a music major to have every lyric to every song I ever listened to in my Mom's 1984 Celica, driving around the ol' OKC running through my head when I couldn't remember the things I needed.  For some reason, things I'd grown up listening to were a bit easier to remember than the things than characteristics of Italian opera in the 1500's or whatever.  And now, guess what?  I can't remember if we need apple juice, but I can just about guarantee I can quote every lyric to whatever song is on the muzak.  

Honestly, I'm pretty sure .38 Special wasn't thinking of autistic kids when they recorded these words.  Okay, I know they weren't.  But most of the time, if we're having trouble accepting something, it's because of ideas, traditions, expectations we maybe hadn't even realized we had.  Lately, every time I catch myself attempting to cling to little things that don't matter, this song pops into my head.  Funny what God uses to get our attention and remind us of his intentions. 

It seems like just when we think we're doing a pretty good job of rolling with it, making plans and being willing to chuck 'em out the door at the last minute, we catch ourselves getting bent out of shape because something didn't go the way we wanted.  I'm still sad at how disappointed I've been in the past of how things turned out in different ways.  But by far, the biggest has to be the church experience in itself.

Like so many other things, I didn't realize how many things I held closely that really didn't amount to a hill of beans.  And I didn't realize that I kinda loved my expectations of what church involvement should be more than I was concerned with how God wanted me to love.

As it turns out, how much I'm involved in what programs and whether or not I'm the mama with the three stair-stepped kids who stand in front of the church and sing isn't near as important as I thought. See, there were dreams that, while they weren't inherently bad, were not guaranteed necessities.  I thought that since I wanted something "good" that God would pat me on the head and smile, then grant whatever my sweet little heart desired, as long as it was "good".

Turns out "good" is a lot different than God's best.

I didn't realize how much I viewed God as a vending machine.  Put in enough, get out what you want.  You just had to know which buttons to push.  I always thought I didn't feel that way.  Then things began to change with Ryan.  The bigger he grew, the more we had to strip away the layers and reevaluate, making decisions about what we believe, and how seriously we want to take this, anyway.  The first thing to go was the dream of the kids being the stair-stepped, seemingly perfect children dressed alike who impressed the whole place with their musical abilities.  Second came the idea that the Senzig family will be there every time the doors are open.  We will not compromise on Sunday mornings, and we will do what we can in addition to find ways to serve.  But for our family, that's just not possible.  

But we must be part of the body.  As believers, we need other believers.  That involves more than dragging ourselves out of bed, which is hard enough on Sunday mornings.  It's a commitment with any children, but it's really a commitment with a child like Ryan.  He needs routine.  He thrives on it and in it, and without it life can get confusing and be a very scary place for him.  And just like church, every other place we go and anything we expect to do as a family must have this applied.  We have to make plans.  We have to prepare and do what we can to think of to make Ryan and the whole family successful, but we also have to be ready and willing to deal with the crash-and-burn that so often happens.

As awesome as CE (our Sunday school) is and as fabulous as the teachers and helpers are, there are still days when he's screaming and beating the floor and his chest every now and again.  And while I'd rather he were able to enjoy it and participate all the time, I have to be happy with what he can do.  While we can go to the grocery store and manage, there will likely be some time when he's upset by all the commotion.  And I have to learn to live with that, helping with Ryan cope however I can.

Notice I didn't say I had to like it, or learn to like it... I have to make peace with it, and at the same time allow my hurt to spur me on to do more for him.  To keep social storying, keep driving him to therapy, keep advocating, keep writing, and for sure keep praying.  And while we have to maintain expectations, we have to give him room to be himself.  We cannot change who he is, and we feel that autism is more of a label for a lot of how he is than a disorder.  That will not stop us from helping him understand the world and helping (when we can) the world understand him.  That will certainly not stop us from seeking help, therapies, and support for him where we can.

In the process of all this, we have to choose carefully to what we hold dear.  We have to make sure we're holding on to the most important things... we have to be extremely careful that the things we will not let go of are truly the things we need to survive.  We have to check our hearts and the motives behind what we choose to hold to even loosely.

So we will hold onto the plans we make loosely, giving the kids the room they need to handle and rise to our expectations.  We have to be ready to be flexible and bend where we need to bend, and there are some things we have to let go of.   And there are a few things to which we refuse to let go.  There are even a couple of them that we will hold tightly.

With all that said, he does... they do... need something to believe in.  They need to grow up with someplace to run even when we're not around and, dare I say, when we aren't helping.  We will fight, seek, and otherwise fervently seek to show our kids they can always count on Jesus.  And yes, that means in everything we do.  Every. Little. Thing.  Every thought, every motion, every therapy, every time we discipline, the way we deal with each other, the way we deal with others.  It's not just for Sundays.  Teaching them that the gospel of Christ must permeate everything we do is essential... the rest is negotiable.  The rest is what we hold loosely.

Thanks be to God our Father for his mercy, grace, love, power, and of course, his sovereignty!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...