I’m sitting at the kitchen table on this fairly early morning, listening to the sounds of my day beginning. It’s really a quiet morning, almost as if the outside fog is buffering all other noise. I hear our Great Dane let out an occasional groaning sigh, so typical of him. He just ate his breakfast and ran outside to do his business, so he is once again lying on his big pillow with his ever-present blanket close by his side. I hear the swishing of the washing machine as it begins to wash the load I just piled into its tub. I hear the quiet sound of the furnace running on this cool morning, and I am thankful for the privilege of heat for our house.
There is another sound I hear, as well as one that I hope I do not hear. I hear the sound of Aaron’s soft breathing coming from the couch where he is now lying. Every little bit I hear the soft fluttering sound of an almost-snore coming through his lips. His head is on his very fluffy black pillow that he often perches behind his back when he watches TV or when he reads in bed at night. And he is all snug under his new animal print blanket that he received from Paradigm for Christmas. This is his new favorite blanket that has now been added to his growing list of bed covers at night……..and it is put on his bed in just the right order, which is on top of all the other covers so the fun animal print is visible. I hear his slurred speech as he just stirred and asked about his coffee, and then was asleep again in seconds. His throat is swollen and sore from probably the same virus that I had after Christmas, so I empathize with his pain and discomfort, and I wish he could have his warm coffee.
The sound I do not want to hear……..and the reason he is not drinking his coffee………is the sound of another seizure. Aaron had two hard seizures during the night. He has a bad headache right now, is very slow both physically and mentally, and will probably sleep for quite some time. Yet his seizures usually occur in his sleep, and so I sit here listening and waiting and praying that he does not have another episode.
I’m amazed at Aaron’s strength……at his ability to even get out of bed and make his way downstairs when he obviously feels so awful. I’m amazed at his desire to keep his routines going even though he can barely stand. He really wants to begin his day…..to get out of bed……to shower and drink his morning coffee…..and to talk, of course! But none of this is very possible for him on this morning, so he clumsily made his way over to the couch and lay down. I got his fuzzy pillow and animal print blanket, and he was asleep before I finished wrapping him all up in soft warmth.
I don’t know why Aaron has to suffer like this. His sore throat kept him from going to a basketball game last night with Barb, and that made me sad. Now he also has seizures piled on top of feeling miserable anyway. It’s very easy for me this morning to ask those ever-present questions……..the ones that lurk near the top of my mind on days like this. Why does Aaron have to suffer? Why is life so hard for him? Why are things so complicated? We’ve added a new drug to help with Aaron’s autistic behaviors, but is this why his seizures are increasing? Now what? One thing helps but also hurts, so here we go down this path again. It can be overwhelming and frustrating and deeply hurtful to watch Aaron endure all of this.
From the time our children are growing in our womb, our hearts are entwined with theirs. We cannot, and would not, separate ourselves from their pain and their trials……but also from their joys and triumphs. It’s just that poor Aaron doesn’t have a lot of joys and triumphs, it seems. At least that’s how I feel on a day like today. The poor guy is even color-blind!
Yet I know from years of experience that when Aaron is suffering, like today, that I need to especially guard my heart. It’s easy to keep trudging down that path of defeat and unanswered questions. I will probably never know until eternity why Aaron suffers. Why does Elijah, and so many others, suffer on such a great level? Why did Paul, and Ben, and Katy not live past their young adulthood? I could name so many families who are suffering from ongoing hurts and trials. We all can. Why?
Just like Job did, we question God sometimes. I am convinced that God wants to use Aaron to point me more to Him. To learn to give God my complete trust and my praise even on these days when Aaron is seizing and has a bad sore throat and wasn’t able to go have some fun at a basketball game like everyone else does. Oops, there I go again……….letting my mind focus on the sad and the negative instead of on God.
I opened my Bible here at the kitchen table while listening to Aaron’s sleeping sounds. I sometimes just open it and see where my eyes land, and what God has for me in those verses. This morning it was Job 9, where Job talks about God’s power revealed in nature but also questions God’s bruising and wounding in his own life. Job couldn’t figure out what God was doing at all, and neither can I. Oh, I know what God was doing with Job because I have the whole picture as written in the book of Job. But I don’t see that whole picture in my life as it relates to Aaron’s sufferings.
Reading Job 9 today reminded me of how God led me one morning in a hotel room in Missouri to read Isaiah 40. Reading those verses about God’s mighty power in creation impacted me more than anything had in a long time. I was reminded that this powerful God Who holds the oceans in His hand can certainly heal Aaron……..or do any number of other things that would mean a lot to me. Yet He is also worthy of my complete trust when He does NOT choose to heal or to rescue immediately…..or ever. I trust God because I know Him, even when I don’t understand Him.
Those surrounding chapters in Isaiah are rich with promise. God does not become weary; His understanding is unsearchable; His strength is there for me; He will hold my right hand; He tells me not to fear. He doesn’t say I won’t hurt or that I won’t question. But my thoughts are to not dwell on those questions as much as they dwell on the One Who has the answers……….revealed to me now or not.
So I wrap up my heart with God’s promises just as I wrapped Aaron up in his special animal print blanket this morning. Once again I face my hurts and my pain for Aaron, propped up with God’s ever present love and his strong arms that are always under me.
Like Job I can say, “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; but now my eye sees You.”
Experience does that, you know. We can see God in ways we never have before. And that kind of experience is never wasted.