Tomorrow is my oldest daughter’s birthday. She’s Autistic. She doesn’t know that tomorrow is her birthday. All birthdays are the same to her. There’s cake and we sing and she blows out the candles on everyone’s cake. And we relight them so the actual birthday person gets to make a wish.
Since her birthday is tomorrow it has me thinking about the 2 days in December that make me cry every year. Her birthday and Christmas. There’s something about her not knowing the significance of either that just makes me sad deep inside. I’m grateful beyond words for the hope of Heaven and knowing that every day there will be significant as she is completely whole and in the presence of the ONE that loves her so……and that I will see it with my own eyes and enjoy it with all my heart.
Autism is an interesting thing. It’s full of melt downs, obsessions, compulsions, no awareness of the consequences of actions, unresponsiveness, indifference, a need for control. It is a challenge unlike any I have known. But God is faithful.
A couple of Christmases ago I wrote a little devotional called “Playing in the Dirt” about my daughter and what I call “Autistic Christians”. I had forgotten about writing it and a friend of mine handed me a copy not long ago and said, “Remember this? You need to share this on your blog.” I believe she is right and on the eve of my daughter’s birthday, and with Christmas on the horizon, I think today is the day. So here it is…..
Playing in the Dirt:
The Post house is always abuzz with activity and noise, but Christmas ratchets everything up a few notches. This past Christmas Eve was no different as we cooked, decorated cookies, built the gingerbread house and the kids asked for the millionth time about opening presents. They were giddy anticipating the “spoils” of the next morning. With the chaos in full throttle, I looked out the window to check on my oldest daughter. And there she was, sitting on the ground, playing in the dirt, oblivious to our joy or the fact that Christmas was coming. She was completely absorbed in her own mind and world. It’s those type of “Autistic moments” that nearly cripple me. I’m usually ok, but in those moments I ache for the possibility of what could have been, and hurt over the things she’s missed…….that I’ve missed with her.
I wonder if God ever looks at me or you and feels that same kind of pain in His heart? Does He ever hurt for the possibility of what we could do or be and ache over the things that we have missed? Do we act as though we are “Autistic Christians”, oblivious to the things going on around us, indifferent or unresponsive to the Voice calling us? Do we fail to communicate with those closest to us or live without considering the consequences of our actions? Do we become obsessive, compulsive or melt down when our world can’t be controlled? Do we live absorbed in our own minds and world, apathetic, content to play in the dirt and miss the blessings right in front of us? I dare say we do live “autistically” in our Christian lives at times and it most certainly grieves the Spirit of God (Ephesians 4:30)
Most days my daughter spends hours engaged in intense intervention in an effort to connect her to us and the “real” world. We are always striving to find a way to communicate with her, a child who is literally trapped inside her own head and world. Sometimes we see progress, and sometimes we don’t. Her abilities are limited and there are some things she simply cannot do. But it isn’t a matter of ability when it comes to living the Christian life. It’s about responding to the intervention. God HAS intervened for us. He has made a way to connect us to Himself and to the “real” world…..His world. His heart. His plan. His service. He has shown us that HIS power has given us EVERYTHING we need for life and godliness… (2 Peter 1:3)
It seems that none of us are immune to the “Autistic Christian” syndrome. But unlike my daughter, we DO have a choice. So what will you choose?