Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.(Hebrews 11:1)
Last year’s Lent brought forth all kinds of questions.
“Mom, what are graves?”
“Graves are where our bodies go when we die, but our souls go to heaven with Jesus and get a brand new body.”
Lip trembling. “Will I be a kid?”
Softly, I answer, “If you went to heaven now, yes, I think you would probably be a kid. But when adults die, I think they are adults in heaven.”
He turns his face away from me, tears forming in the corners of his eyes. I scoot closer to him in the bed, put my arm around him.
“Are you ok, baby?”
“Yeah, I’m ok.” Wipes his eyes.
I used to wonder if Henry would ever have conversations with us. I questioned his ability to communicate his thoughts and feelings in a way we could understand to form a response. I knew his brain processed and problem-solved; this much was abundantly clear. What wasn’t so clear was his expression and if we would ever know the fullness of his intelligence and emotion.
The answer is no.
We will never know all his brain is thinking. (But isn’t that true of all of us? Aren’t all of us a mystery?)
We are certain of Henry’s depth of thought, his critical reasoning, and emotional intelligence. We know his virtues and vices, what motivates him and what does not, where he excels and where he struggles. We know that at least once a week, he will recall a scene from his past that sheds light on a moment we didn’t understand. We know he’s a news junkie and a pop culture enthusiast. We know he is an excellent reader but likes math better. We know he hates art and loves music, though he doesn’t like performing and prefers to dance when no one’s watching. We know he cares deeply about his friends and would lasso the moon for us.
What we know for sure is that much of what we knew about autism in 2012 (and that was a lot, believe me – I’m a voracious reader) was incomplete at best. We also know we were right to keep hoping.
I look forward to this year’s Lent and Easter. The discussions that began last year did not end, but they will likely resurface with greater intensity. What moments of beauty, clarity, and revelation await us?
Moms and dads around the country, just like Keith and me, have persevered in the face of doubt and confusion. We’ve never stopped believing in our kids, fighting for our kids, and seeking answers for our kids, even when we’ve had little reason to believe we should. And we’ve seen them soar.
If you ever doubt your child will fly, check out Rhema. Brooke. Owen. Kerry. Temple. Carly. They didn’t talk, didn’t fit any molds, didn’t conform. Yet, each one has defied expectations and risen above all odds. Without their parents’ faith, these individuals’ lives would be much different today.
Let us enter this season of Lent with the greatest faith we’ve ever had – faith in our God and in His ability to do more than we could ever ask or imagine. What do you hope for that you do not yet see?