February 19, 2014

We see in a mirror dimly.

Everyday I go to work and only partially understand what I do, I understand procedures and best practices. I know techniques and strategies. I can take data and read programs and try to be flexible and think outside the box. I celebrate small victories and sometimes have a party about the simplest developmental milestones. I'm not scared of temper tantrums or having scissors thrown at me. I've been spit at, scratched, hit, head butted, and peed on. I've squeezed feet, massaged heads, given backwards hugs, played the same game over and over again, talked in pictures, done yoga, spent way too long coaxing one bite of food. I live in a world of rules and routine, I speak in one sided conversations for most of the day. 

Autism is one of the dearest things in the world to me. Nothing brings so much joy and so much pain into my life. Autism is something that no matter how much schooling I complete, how many different kids I work with, I will never understand, but autism is a puzzle I want to spend my life trying to understand. Life through their little eyes is something I would give the world to see, and something no matter how much I know, will never experience. 

I will never know the panic and fears that are so debilitating you can't function, the overflow and outpouring of sensory chaos. The inability to use language the way your brain understands it, the frustration of being misunderstood or constantly misunderstanding. Being written off because you're too 'low functioning' or not supported enough because you're so 'high functioning'. Autism isn't a switch you can turn on and off, it's not a choice you make in the morning, it's not just being stubborn or hardheaded. Autism can mean you don't eat your breakfast because your mom bought the wrong cereal, you can't get dressed because your sweater is scratchy. You scream because the water is too cold, you hurt yourself because your sibling is too loud, the work is too hard, the light is too bright, these things aren't a choice, they are all consuming. 

Everyday I see families who look at their kids with a desperate desire to understand. I show up for 2 or 3 hrs a couple times a week with that same desperate desire. A desire so strong that some days you want to just put your head through a wall. On those days, on the days when I look into a weary mom's eyes and have no words to comfort her with, I know this...

"And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." 

"For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known."

"The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
and saves the crushed in spirit."

"But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong;"

This is good news. This is the best news…

I know that, my ability to understand is small, my perspective is easily skewed, I have very limited vision.   The love of my Saviour however is not, we do not worship a limited God. He is not surprised or puzzled by anything, He does not experiment or have trials fail. He created these kids and He's bigger than autism. This brings hope to my soul because I know I have a loving Father. He's met our deepest needs and loves us despite our fears, failures and discouragement. He gives us desires and passions and promises to work all things together for our good and His glory.

So on the days when I see a little person being swallowed up by autism I don't have to understand why, or even how to make it better, I need to know that He loves them more than I can, He knows their needs and their struggles and He has promised good for them, a good that surpasses our limited vision of good. I can't understand that, but I believe it, and I love it.