The eeriness and timing of this video had me covered in chills. I am in a funk. I am not feeling very creative. I am a little weepy… I am tired. As I attempted to pull myself together to face the day, I lamented my “brain vacation” to God.
“I don’t have anything to write… if you have anything, send it my way, nothing too deep. Just something surface level. I am too tired to think… Amen.”
This video left me utterly undone.
I don’t usually watch Facebook videos, well, unless they are mine and I am dissecting and criticizing myself.
But this one was so blatantly the message that I had been longing to hear.
My brain was firing on the few cylinders that are left. Between repeated viewings of Dora the Explorer and the limited cerebral flex, aside from calculating Cheetos and gummy worms into diet expenditures, I am spent.
But this metaphor was crystal clear… this truth burned my eyes and made my chest ache.
A lump rose in my throat.
As the story goes this mom and dad recognized “something was not right,” when the boys were about 2. They wouldn’t make eye contact or communicate. As time progressed things continued to grow more dreadful. The boys were self-harming, escape artists, and destroyed everything in their reach. At a complete loss, the parents visited a couple of institutions. In the end, amongst harsh criticisms, they determined they could not give up the boys.
The two boys, who brought no joy, no hope, and no sunshine or peace to the parents’ lives, were the very boys they couldn’t fathom being away from.
The parents explained in unison, “We couldn’t give them up.”
Still, the boys terrorized the couple; destroying everything they owned, escaping from their home and invoking manhunts and search dogs, never relieved or even thankful for having been returned home, to the safety of their adoring mother and father.
Exasperated, yet committed they learned about a program called “Son-Rise Program – a pioneering technique that was devised by the parents of a severely autistic child who made a full recovery in the 1970’s” Primary to the therapy is to join the children in their autistic behaviors rather than seeking to stop or modify them. The twins’ father explained that Samuel would not quit spinning, “I joined him. And straight away, he looked me right in the eye.” Something the boy had never done before. Something that the parents were told would never happen. As if by entertaining the behavior the disabled boy recognized, “You understand me?”
The breakthroughs continued.
By identifying with the boys, the mom and dad bridged the gap between “normal” and autistic.
And this is … Jesus.
Jesus came and walked our trials out, bridging the gap between holy and human. No, He didn’t fall into sin like we do, but He was able to look at us and say, “I know.”
And in spite of every sacrifice, He loves unto His death. Separation was not an option. No matter what we soil, spit on or destroy – He longs for our company.
We could never acknowledge the sacrifice, never fall into His arms, never look into His eyes and thank Him. We can abuse the greatness of His very creation and sacrifice… and separation is not an option.
Believing in Him was what counted Abraham faithful, and while belief is a requirement, the depth of that belief might never be fully uncovered on Earth.
I was up and down all night pondering this exasperating image of parenting. I do not have a child with autism, I don’t pretend to understand. And I know the spectrum varies, but this video spoke to me a message I adore. The message is Grace.
To serve, toil, sweat, and bleed over a child who never even acknowledges you when you walk into the room.
Certainly the twins, Samuel and Jacob assumed an understanding or belief in their parents’ presence but it was not until the parents modeled their understanding of the erratic and wild behaviors – and still accepted them… was there change.
Until the moment the boys fully understood that their mom and dad understood, did they reciprocate love and model change.
Jesus came to fulfill the Law.
Under the law, there were only the continual failings that separated us from a good and loving Father.
Out of our minds and out of control, we were further from Him and more miserable in our quest for completion.
We banged our heads against the wall, broke windows and climbed fences. We were hauled back time and again, for our own safety… because love protects.
Yes, love protects, but it does not boast, it does not dishonor others and it is not proud.
The perfected love of God is patient and kind. He humbled himself to a brutal and humiliating death – because separation was not an option. And even while we were still sinners, before we ever looked into His eyes and acknowledged His good and loving nature… separation was not an option.
Often I am corrected in my belief that God hopes or craves our love… I stand by my belief that certainly, He is in want of us. Otherwise, why the Cross? Moreover, why create us to love so selflessly… in His image.
The evidence of promise and love demonstrated by parents whose children are trapped inside the cruelty of autism is an excellent metaphor for perfect love.
Not an “I love you because…” but “Still, I love you.”
Still, nothing can separate you from me.
Still, I want to be with you.
Still, you are perfectly and wonderfully made.
Still… I will wait for you to turn to me and say, “I love you… still.”
May your floors be sticky and your calling ordained. Love, Jami
“In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'” Acts 20:35 (ESV)
You can read the story of Samuel and Jacob here.