A friend posted a link to my last blog in which I wrote,
“On the day my daughter was diagnosed with autism I got a gift. I got the gift of seeing God do abundantly more than I could ever think or imagine, over and over again, for the rest of her life. I got the gift of uncommon, huge joy in “ordinary” miracles. I got the gift of cherishing every big-little healing step.”
Some people responded that autism is NOT a gift; that we should not romanticize autism and its challenges.
Anyone who has been around this blog for a minute knows I share the good, the bad, and the smelly. But the Facebook comments caused me to wrestle again with my own flip-flopping thoughts and emotions.
Take yesterday, for example. It included an embarrassing scene on the hospital elevator, 4 clothing changes because she pooped in her pants and chewed holes in her shirts, a near death experience on a busy city street, and me declaring to her neuro who hadn’t seen her in 6 months, that yes, she’s still nonverbal. I saw the loss, how painfully different she was from other kids, how she struggled with the transition of simply walking from the doctor’s office to the waiting room, and I wanted to scream bloody murder at the autism monster.
The same day included my girl climbing into my lap and breathing slurpy Rhema-kisses on my face. The two of us, nose to nose, hummed London Bridge for ten blessed minutes. I cannot separate her from the autism, and I love everything about her.
This is a journey I would never, ever choose. I have more questions than answers. But I do know, for us, part of the hope in the struggle is that it brings us to our knees, opens our eyes to God, magnified. And He is providing the grace for empathy, the ability to love each other/others in a manner that I daresay was previously unavailable to us. Indeed, He gives beauty for ashes.
On the phone the husband and I tried to think through it out loud. About the autism and the seizure disorder, he said,
“I don’t like it. I maybe hate it. But even that I can give to God. This whole package, with joy and sadness entwined, I’m learning to embrace it all. It’s a purposeful decision. To give thanks in everything. To be faithful in the waiting.”
Brandon loves this song by Laura Story, a young woman whose husband battles brain cancer:
I want, I need to hold on to this gifted perspective.
What do you think? Are there gifts in your life that have disguised themselves as tragedies or setbacks?