Aaron woke up yesterday morning in a bad mood. He was obstinate, and so I was trying hard to just leave him alone. I know that he often comes around to “the good side” if I give him some space and some time. He banged his fist on his desk, making me jump even though I wasn’t in the same room with him. Still I kept quiet. But when he came downstairs later as I waited on him to leave for his day group, he was carrying a bag full of his Star Wars DVD’s. He told me that he was going to give them to a friend because he didn’t want them anymore…..and I told him that he was NOT giving them to his friend. He then slammed the bag on the kitchen table….and I lost my composure. Big time lost my composure.
Lots happened after that. Aaron got in the van, was quiet for awhile, and then he began to tell me that he loved Dad more than me…..that Dad was nicer than me…..that he wasn’t going to watch television with me that night…..and on and on. I was still angry and not soft toward Aaron at all. And soon he was crying, which is a sure sign of total frustration on Aaron’s part.
My heart was sad and broken. I was mad at myself, and mad at Aaron, but also I was hurt for him and just so tired. I knew that there was more to my anger than Aaron’s belligerent behavior. Sure, I do get tired of dealing with Aaron’s inability to sometimes control his emotions and his actions. But there are times that I also struggle with controlling my own emotions and actions.
Without getting too specific, I was already bothered by some thoughts I was having that had nothing to do with Aaron at that moment. I was having a little pity party of my own. It was one of those times when I was already looking at Gary’s and my life with Aaron, and giving in to the reality of some things that can really get me down.
Sometimes Gary and I would just like to pick up and go. Many of our former responsibilities are gone. But with Aaron, we always need to find caregivers, which is extremely hard to do. It’s also expensive. So at a time when couples our age are empty nesters, retiring, enjoying life…..Gary and I are stuck. I feel terrible saying that, but it’s the truth. I usually don’t get mired in those thoughts. I often look at Gary and say, “We have no problems. God has been so good to us.” And Gary is careful to thank the Lord for our many blessings when we pray.
But yesterday morning, I was not feeling so blessed. And therein is much of the problem I was facing. I let my feelings dictate my response to Aaron, and it was not pretty. It was not helpful or kind to Aaron. And I was not pleasing God, for sure.
I know better than to compare myself to others. But I also know better than to stay in that frame of mind, or to heap guilt upon myself and live in defeat after I blow it. God forgave me, and Aaron did, too. I pulled over in a Quik Trip parking lot near Aaron’s day group so that he and I could talk. It was difficult. Aaron was crying and I was very frustrated at myself and at him. Finally, though, we sifted through our hurt feelings. I told Aaron that I was sorry for the way I acted. We went to Paradigm, where Aaron walked around talking to some of the staff and some of his friends, but eventually leaving with me.
And as we drove toward home……..in the middle of Aaron talking about Protocol Droids and Darth Nihilus and star maps and HK47 and Revin and Malak and endless other outer space things that are only important to him……he said, “Do you know it’s hard for me to say I’m sorry?”
Wow!! That was amazing!
I smiled, patted his leg, and assured him that I understood. We later went to Chili’s for lunch, where we blew our straw wrappers on each other like we always do and where Aaron asked the blessing – “Lord, thank you for this food and please help me to be good today.” And THAT was a blessing!
Yes, my day was totally rearranged and very different from what I had planned, which was to be a nice rainy day at home to get some extra things done and not have anywhere extra to go. But God had rearranged my attitude along with my day, and that is always the best help ever.
God wasn’t through with me yet, though. This morning I read this verse in Psalm 77:19. The Psalmist was recalling what God had done for Israel when they left Egypt.
“Your road led through the sea; Your pathway through the mighty waters – a pathway no one knew was there!”
Israel wasn’t happy when they got to the Red Sea. God rescued them from slavery in Egypt and they were thrilled…..until they saw where God brought them. The path led to an impossible situation. The Red Sea! Now what?!
But God had a path planned for them…..a path no one knew was there. But God knew!! He showed Israel His power as He rescued them there. He taught them lessons they would never have learned had their path remained easy and secure.
God led them through the impossibility on the path He knew was there. So God has put each of us who follow Him on a certain path in life. We don’t always get the green pastures or the still waters of Psalm 23. In fact, all of us are going to come upon a Red Sea in our lives…..an impossible situation that will end up showing us the possibilities that God has in store for us.
His power is made perfect in our weakness, He has told us, and in His power we take one step at a time…..step by step…..on the pathway that we never knew was there. But He knew it was there!
He may lead us TO a Red Sea, but He has promised to also lead us THROUGH the Red Sea. I may not even see the other side of my Red Sea on this side of heaven, but I do know that God will shepherd me through each day on this particular path.
I love the old hymn, He Leadeth Me.
He leadeth me! O blessed thought! O words with heavenly comfort fraught! Whate’er I do, where’er I be, still ‘tis God’s hand that leadeth me.
Sometimes mid scenes of deepest gloom, sometimes where Eden’s bowers bloom. By waters still, o’er troubled sea, still ‘tis His hand that leadeth me.
He leadeth me, He leadeth me, by His Own hand He leadeth me;
His faithful follower I would be, for by His hand He leadeth me.