Friday, April 11, 2014

Autism Understanding and Acceptance 2014 Day 13: My visit (if religious talk offends you, skip this one)

I debated long and hard about whether to post this one or not.  I am not one who easily talks openly about matters of faith.  It is a deeply personal subject for me and I get very uncomfortable sharing something that I feel is private.  I have been a member of the Christian faith for my entire life and attend church weekly.  It is a vital part of my life, whether I speak of it or not.  But sharing openly about my faith: that's a tough one.

That being said, if am I continue with the theme of what has been helpful, this moment was a pivotal one.

I mentioned in my previous post that I had a profound moment when I was near a nervous break during those early years.  I haven't shared this too often because it was a deeply personal moment, and it happened immediately after a moment I'm not terribly proud of.  But that's what makes it so profound, and I'm not making this up.

At this point in time, I was frantic to get T to check off more items on those developmental milestones lists.  We had five therapy appointments a week with three different therapists coming to our home, all working with him to make progress where he was delayed.  I was determined that if I worked with him hard enough during the off hours, put in the time and did it right, I could make the delays go away and everything would be fine.  For crying out loud, I was a full time stay at home mom at that point - if anyone could do it, I could.  But T was not on the same page.  I will never, ever forget the endless hours at our kitchen table, just T & me, trying to engage him, get him to do anything.  Nothing.  He'd just stare blankly off into the distance.  When I'd try to help him hold a crayon or do anything with his hands, they just went limp.  I couldn't reach him.  So there I was, frantic, and there he was, just placidly sitting at the table, NOT reachable.

After weeks and months of this, I hit the boiling point.  I stood up, slammed my chair back from the kitchen table and in doing so, accidentally hit the spindled chair rail behind us.  I was yelling at the world, frustrated and frightened beyond where I had ever been.  Spindles went everywhere and T was frightened and started to cry.  Then, sitting across the kitchen table from me, was Jesus.

I know, I know - I probably just lost some of you.  Believe me,  I don't fall into the category of Christian that feels they have a deep, personal & intimate relationship with Jesus.  (That's a little too cozy & casual a thought for me personally.)  But I'm telling you: He was there.  The calm, simple and clear message from him was: Suzanne, stop.  And I could sense Him smiling but shaking his head at me.  Sympathetic, present, loving.  And then He was gone.

A bit shaken but much calmer, I put the spindles back (nothing had been broken, luckily).  T calmed down, and so did I.  I apologized to T for frightening him, and moved forward, knowing I was not alone in this journey ahead of us.

Knowing I am not alone in this journey has been vital as we have passed through challenging times.

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