There is something to be said for hope.
My heart was filled this morning when a friend came over with her little ones to visit. I can't explain how we are able to pick up where we left off, connect as if we had seen one another just yesterday. She brought donuts, I supplied the coffee. Our boys began to play. We hugged, laughed, and then the heavy, tactical talk about our children commenced. There, cross-legged on my living room rug, were questions and fears that came up as we talked about developmental delays. I was brought back to the emotions I had experienced when Isaac was around the 2 1/2 year old stage--or, the stage I personally refer to as "the dark time."
We all have those segments of time in our hearts that, after time has passed, we can look back without panic or resentment or fear. For me, it was when Isaac was a toddler. It's hard for me to go back there. In those days, I had gone through a sort of solitary confinement of the soul: A time where tunnel vision seemed to be the only way I could see (and that was only a foot ahead of me)...a time where numbness to every other meaningless struggles of my days paled in comparison to the looming challenge of finding the answer to where did my child disappear to? What happened to the babbling, giggly baby boy who called me "mama" and looked me in the eye? How do I have conversations with people...how do I explain why my son just isn't like everyone else? How do I find him? How do I find myself? So many questions hovered like a swarm of bees that followed my mind every second of the day.
In the moment when darkness looms, and we find ourselves in the space of the unknown, we are mortified. We lose track of when and where we are as we try and focus to see something...we grip tightly to our identity as a parent--a good one--and then everything we thought we knew how to do, we have to let go of. The ideals we thought made us the right one for this mom-job turn into failure in our arms. Sadness. Loss. Regret. Fear. Anxiety. Desperation.
I remember the day when I embraced hope after dropping all of those mom expectations. It came as I was driving in my van. Isaac had just started his time at preschool, and I had a few moments to myself. I was listening to a radio program, and it was about the biblical story of Abraham and Isaac. I felt like the minister speaking should have said my name, because it was just for me. He said: "God couldn't do the work He had intended, or proved to Abraham his covenant of promise to provide until He was able to give Isaac willingly back to His care--His love." All of my emotions broke free from my body like the Hoover Dam exploding. I had to pull over into a Target parking lot and cry and scream and shake. I needed to rededicate Isaac to God's care, and allow HIM to direct the steps and literally, be the light that would get me out of the fear. If Abraham could do it with his Isaac, who was I not to try with mine?
Hope was the flashlight in that darkness. It was, and is, a strong and confident expectation of something that I believe is and will be...something that can't always be seen or touched, but can be reached. Hope is what fuels us for each new day. I don't place my hope in my own abilities. I place my hope in the knowledge that there is a hope and a future for my son. I shine the truth on the doubts and watch them slowly dissipate. I have seen how God has worked all things together for Isaac's good, and I believe while resting in that truth. I am who God has made me, and Isaac is who God has made him--we grow from there. Together.
I get weary. I get scared. But I have hope. I get confused. I get angry. But I have hope.
I know Isaac does too.
“Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me... Anything can happen, child.
Anything can be.”
― Shel Silverstein
― Shel Silverstein