I am hurting. I am watching the repercussions of sin take root in the simplest things…. and in the biggest. I am watching what it means to live in a life of imperfections, yearning to live with the God that loves us and can’t wait for a time of perfection and peace with us. A God that hurts with us. A God that begs for me to lean on him and cry when I face the realization that my son doesn’t talk like all the other toddlers. That my son is incredibly intelligent but can’t verbally express it. Not yet.
He’s not mute and he’s not deaf. He will talk in time, through therapy and with the love and endless support of his “momma” and “da-da” and all the loving friends and relatives that surround us. He’s not a serious case and I tend to judge myself over this.
“There are others that are going through far worse.”
Ugh. No. S-T-O-P with the judging of yourself. Why do we do that? Why do we compare our pains, our hurts and sufferings to someone else’s? Why can’t we just allow ourselves to grieve how we need to grieve, over WHAT we need to grieve over? There are parents who have been blessed with remarkable children, children that have been asked to live in a world of autism, where there’s possibly no hope of speaking outside the flapping of their hands and screeches in order to tell you something. That crushes me. I cannot imagine. I pray for these families, pray for courage and strength. You are heroes… I cannot imagine. And that is just it. I cannot imagine. I am not living that life. I am living my life.
Have we ever thought about the fact that maybe that family that has it worse (and honestly? They may not even feel that way… I am not one to judge. That is not my place..), but had they not lived their life and instead lived yours, maybe they would grieve what you grieve as well?
So let’s stop selling ourselves short and let’s grieve what we are currently grieving, no matter what someone else is going through. This is YOUR GRIEF. This is YOUR STORY. It is okay for you to feel the way you feel. The family that “has it worse than you” would most likely be the first to tell you – or rather, me – that they don’t mind if you grieve that your son isn’t yet talking. Even when they know their’s never will.
So…I am hurting. My son is 23 months old (as of yesterday). Two years old in June. I can’t wait to hear him say “I love you”. I can’t wait to hear my son say “milk” or “dog” or “car” or “please”. But you know what I learned today? I was reading Love, Anthony by Lisa Genova, a book about a boy with autism (and oh my goodness please buy that book right now! Click the link and buy it and read it. You’ll THANK ME!! Anyways…). I learned something valuable.
I don’t need him to speak to me. He doesn’t need to speak to me. I’ve already known for some time that his speech was possibly behind and I’ve known that this was okay. I’ve learned that I can find a precious gift inside the lack of speech – the gift God has given me to help me live through this life of imperfection – and that is I can learn my son even better than I would through speech because I know what every body movement, every influx of his tone, every eye movement means. I know him inside and out. I know what he wants, when he wants it. I know his internal clock, I know his needs and his desires.
Without speech, I have learned his heart.
I want to share with you a passage from the book Love, Anthony that can help you better connect to what I just wrote. To better understand me. Lisa Genova wrote this so beautifully. This is the voice of Anthony, the little boy who was autistic:
“I came here to simply be, and autism was the vehicle of my being. Although my short life was difficult at times, I found great joy in being Anthony. Autism made it difficult to connect with you and Dad and other people through things like eye contact and conversation and your activities. But I wasn’t interested in connecting in those ways, so I felt no deprivation in this. I connected in other ways, through the song of your voices, the energy of your emotions, the comfort in being near you, and sometimes, in moments I treasured, through sharing the experience of something I loved…”
My son will have a voice in time. But for now? He doesn’t need it and neither do I.