I got a phone call last Thursday afternoon, soon after I had gotten home from running errands. I saw that it was from Barb’s cell phone. Barb, who works at Aaron’s day group, often lets Aaron use her cell phone to call me. Or Aaron often uses her cell phone even without permission so that he can call me and tell me something about his day, and then insist that Barb and I need to talk…and we laugh every time about that as we talk for a minute and make Aaron very happy. So I was sure that this call was just another call from Aaron as I answered the phone.
But it wasn’t Aaron. On the other end of the line was a staff from Paradigm who was using Barb’s phone to call and tell me that Aaron had fallen during a seizure. Aaron was standing when he suddenly fell, seizing, and had hit the cement floor. She said they were sure he would need stitches in his chin. She was right.
I left for Paradigm as quickly as I could, thankful that our old Great Dane was beyond caring about the groceries left around the kitchen within his easy reach. I walked in and found Aaron surrounded by Barb and the nurse, sitting in a chair with paper towels being held on his chin. He was alert, ready to tell me all about his injury and ask if we were going to the doctor.
Which we did. We went to the hospital nearest our house, out in the country, where the ER wait is next to nothing and the care is good. The girl at check-in put an ID bracelet on Aaron’s arm…his arm on which he wears his watch, way up high. There is plenty of room on that arm for both bracelet and watch, but Aaron doesn’t think so. Immediately when we sat down in the waiting room, Aaron had me take off his watch. I knew that here, as is true everywhere, Aaron’s way of doing things would be the way that things would be done, if he had any say in it at all.
He would sure enough need stitches, we were told. No surprise there. Aaron was taking it all in stride. He doesn’t panic, thankfully, but he has questions during times like this, wanting to know about the process and the procedure…would he feel it…how many stitches would he need…and could he go home after this was all done.
When things were quieter, as we waited for the doctor and Aaron leaned his head back on the pillow, I looked at him and felt so sorry for all he goes through. I couldn’t linger long there, though, in those thoughts because I knew I would cry and I knew that my crying would greatly bother Aaron. He doesn’t have the emotional feelings about life that you and I have. This is to his benefit, really. But I do have those emotions, especially as his mother. Looking at his split chin and his scuffed, swollen cheek just brought home to me the fact that life is hard for Aaron.
Aaron doesn’t enjoy the pain he experienced. He doesn’t like his seizures. But Aaron also doesn’t complain about it or seem to feel at all sorry for himself. That’s what I mean about the fact that he doesn’t display the emotional feelings about his life that others might do. He’s mostly concerned about the facts. Will stitches hurt? How many stitches will I have? Can I go home afterwards? What’s for supper? When can I wear my watch again?
Not – why do I have to be the one with seizures? Why can’t I drive like others do? Why do I need so much help all the time? Why is life unfair to me?
I’m SO thankful that Aaron doesn’t express those feelings…that they don’t even seem to be on his radar. Once in a long while he’ll say something telling, though, like the time he asked me what went wrong with him. Or is God mad at him and gave him seizures. But those thoughts are verbalized very seldom. Aaron is mostly about the here and now, and about living life in the routines that matter so much to him. Predictability and sameness in his days are far more important to him than weightier matters such as the fairness of his life.
Gary and I are left with those weightier matters that are heavy on our hearts. And I was feeling it as I watched Aaron flinch several times as he endured the stitches. He told his Aunt Sandra about it that night as they talked on the phone.
“That doctor put on the numbing medicine and then he put on the stitches!” Aaron told her. Somehow he can always make me smile.
But by the end of the evening, as I told my friend Sarah, I just wanted to crawl off in a corner and have a good cry. That wasn’t to be, though. As soon as Aaron got in bed later that night, within five seconds after I left his room, he had another seizure. They happen so quickly! Thankfully he was laying down in bed for this one, safe from falls. I was in bed myself as soon as I could after that, very tired…too tired to take time to cry.
The next morning I sat at my quiet time desk, early, wondering what God would show me from His word. He didn’t disappoint me. He never does. I’m reading through II Samuel – again – using a devotional commentary written by Dale Ralph Davis. In chapter 7, God was explaining to David why he would not be the one to build Him a temple. And this phrase, read so many times before, jumped out at me as I read it…and then read what Davis had to say.
God was speaking: “In all the places where I have travelled around with all the sons of Israel…”
God lived in a tent among His people as they wandered in the wilderness. As Davis says, “Do you see what God is saying about Himself? He is the God Who travels with His people in all their topsy-turvy, here-and-there journeys and wanderings.”
The God of the universe travelled with His people while they spent years in the wilderness…years spent there because of their sin and disobedience. Davis continued: “That is only a pale glimpse of the condescension of the covenant God, the God Who will not enjoy rest until He gives His people rest , the God Who stoops down to share the hardships of His people, the God Who is not ashamed to say He has been ‘travelling around in a tent’ with them. See how close He is to you!”
On my tired, sad morning as I hurt for Aaron once again, I was overwhelmed with joy for what God had shown me. God never lets me down, especially when I need Him the most! I don’t deserve His kindness to me but I sure did thank Him for His hand on my shoulder that moment…His arm around me and His promise to be with me so fresh in my life as I sat at my desk.
His presence doesn’t necessarily take away all pain or grief. But He sure does pour comfort over me. And the certainty that He has a purpose for all that goes on with Aaron fills me with peace.
It’s not a peace based on my feelings. It’s a peace based on my God.
I felt that same peace as we realized over the weekend that Aaron had probably damaged a back molar during his fall. I took him to our dentist yesterday, who confirmed that the tooth was broken beyond repair. Off we went to an oral surgeon, who thankfully was able to extract the tooth right away. And there I sat once again, watching Aaron sit in another exam room for yet another procedure. I listened to his questions that he asked the dental staff and that he asked me. I watched his eyes focus an all the items in the room, processing each one in the way that he always does. I hurt for his fear that he expressed.
But I also thought of my travelling God, and how He was right there with us in that room. I was thankful for that, SO much! Thankful, too, for the sweet nurse who told me about her young son with seizures, and how we talked about prayer and our faithful God.
When all was done, Aaron was done…ready to lead the way out the door. Ready for his large chocolate milkshake from Sonic – with NO straw! Ready for his mashed potatoes and a few deviled eggs for supper. Very ready to show Dad his tooth and the roots, placed in the little pink tooth box that he can carry around and proudly show to everyone.
Ready to take a walk, in his pajamas, with Gary and Jackson.
Ready to bring me his treasure that he had found, and that Gary had explained to him.
Ready to touch my heart with his lopsided, numb grin as he showed me the dandelion seeds.
Ready to be used by God once again to show me so much, in ways he doesn’t even know.