I’ve said before that I’ve made peace with autism in my life – most days. Today, my friends, is not one of those days.
Perhaps it’s because, for the last two weeks, Luke has been transitioning to a new school. New people. New place. New schedule. Translation: Luke is miserable. The only person more miserable is me. It takes pretty much every ounce of strength that this pregnant body can muster to hurl myself out of bed each morning and send my beloved child to his daily torture. Then I try to stay busy for the next several hours so I don’t think too much about it – and tomorrow, dear friends, is Monday.
Perhaps it’s because, for the last four days, we have eliminated Luke’s access to electronics, which for Luke, is akin to taking crack away from a drug addict. Can you say withdrawals? So, I have been facing nearly nonstop tantrums and retaliatory bathroom accidents as a result.
Perhaps it’s because Nick has been working long hours six days per week and doing it all alone just feels like too much.
Or maybe it’s because I have 34 weeks worth of pregnancy hormones coursing through my veins at this very moment.
Whichever ingredients contributed to the cocktail that ultimately did me in this morning, I don’t know. I only know that it takes very little to be the final straw that sends me down the painful vacuum once again.
For the record, I hate losing it. The only thing worse is losing it in public, and until today, that hadn’t happened.
Nick dropped me off at church early to practice with the worship team, and things were going well. One of the many things about Sunday morning that I enjoy is getting a few “me” hours while Nick gets the kids dressed and brings them to the later service.
The first service began and Matt got up to welcome everyone. Matt had recently returned from a mission trip to India and was telling a little about the miracles that he heard about while he was there.
I was entertaining the thought of packing up my family and moving to India. How desperately I have prayed for a miracle for Luke in the last four years, and one of the hardest things to accept has been just how far we are from that miracle. Despite all of my hopes, Luke still struggles more than most autistic kids.
Then, there was this precious little boy being baptized. This was not just any little boy; he had been born with many complications and for a time it was expected that he wouldn’t survive. I had looked forward in anticipation to this Sunday with great joy – so glad I was on the worship team this week and would get a front row seat! I had no idea that hearing his story again would affect me so much, and perhaps any other day it wouldn’t have, but as his parents got up and shared testimony of his healing – this thought entered my mind.
“Why did they get their miracle, and I didn’t get mine?”
It only took seconds for the self-rebuke reel to roll – my guilt heightened by the fact that I know and love this family dearly.
“He still has struggles. His future still needs a lot of prayer.”
“Would you rather that they didn’t get their miracle?”
“You should be happy for them. This is such a joyous day.”
“This is not about you. Stop feeling sorry for yourself.”
But it was too late. I tried desperately to banish that initial thought from my mind, but I couldn’t. I contemplated quietly leaving the stage to find some privacy but I knew it would raise attention, so I closed my eyes and muddled through the remaining worship songs as best I could, and then made a beeline for the restroom.
As soon as I saw myself in the mirror I knew I was in trouble. My eyes were a red, puffy mess from choking back tears. Nick had the car so there was no escape to be made. Anyone who saw me would know that there was something seriously wrong. There was nothing I could do but try to sit quietly and calm down, but sure enough, the first person who saw me gasped, “What’s wrong?”
For the record, never ask a person with red, puffy eyes, “What’s wrong?” unless you are ready to be a part of an emotional scene.
I buried my face in my hands and broke down. I was thankful that those with me did not exhaust me with platitudes. Sometimes you just need to cry it out, because it is hard and there aren’t any easy answers.
So tomorrow, I’ll find a way to lay this down at Jesus’ feet again. But today I’m hurting, and I give you permission to have days like this, too.