Thursday, November 12, 2009

Heavy Load

Alright. I think I'm coming out of it. The writer's block, that is. Let's just see how it goes.

However, it's not just writer's block keeping me from writing. Recent issues with middle son (Joel) are all-consuming. His diagnoses of ADHD, mood disorder, and "possible" Asperger's (possible?) seem to be colliding and causing monumental problems that we are only beginning to figure out. It feels suspiciously like the first couple of years spent struggling with youngest son's (Seth) autism. You're living in a maze that you must try and make some sense out of before even beginning to know which way to go.

The good news is that he is a spectacular kid. His heart is huge and nurturing, and his love and eagerness for God's word are astounding for a kid of 11 years. And I am working night and day on his behalf - with counselors, with his psychiatrist, his teachers, his school, his youth leaders at church. Being a special needs parent to even just one child with issues is a full-time job. Two can feel overwhelming at times. And three? Meet me at the looney bin for drinks when my nest is empty. I'll be the one in the bingo room using bullets to mark my cards.

What I am beginning to be amazed about with Joel is that in all of his frustration with the issues he is dealing with, he pushes on. Yes, we often take two steps forward and five steps backwards. He is pulling a heavy load - a lot more than a kid his age should have to; but the way he can filter through his feelings, articulate them to us, and muddle through them is a gift. I hope and pray that he can continue to do that.

Through it all, we "keep our eyes on the prize." One of the ways we try to help Joel cope with what he's going through is to emphasize that this life is temporary. It is but a blink of the eye in eternity; and what he has to deal with now is not permanent. God has prepared a place for us that will not include these worldly problems.

There are days when I think his faith is stronger than mine. There are days when I think he could teach me a lot more than I am teaching him. And there are days that temptation gets the best of me much more than it does my 11-year-old son.

Life is a journey, right? A journey that takes turns that we weren't expecting and detours that take us off the path of where we probably should be going. I recognize that. But right or wrong, I also recognize that every detour, every seemingly wrong decision, every experience we choose (or may not choose) to engage in is woven into the fabric of who we are and who we will become.

Everything that Joel is enduring right now is building his character into the person he is intended to be. We are not privy to the "whys" of it all; we just have to try and keep the train on the tracks.

photo by Zsuzsanna Kilian