Friday, April 11, 2014
God is a Parent of Child with Special Needs: An Easter Gift
I had managed to make it to the car and slam the door before I lost it. I don't cry sad tears. I cry when I'm angry. I cry especially when I am angry about injustice.
How dare they!?! I wanted to scream out but kept quiet because my sweet Isaac was innocently strapped into his car seat behind me. Instead, I muttered under my breath and behind my tears, "How dare they as representatives of Christ ignore my son's existence? How dare they pass him over so completely? How dare they not include my son without so much as a glance his way just because he is not like them? How dare they ignore and judge and devalue just because they don't understand?"
We had been to Bible School. It wasn't our church but it was one in which we knew people. It was a good opportunity for socialization for Isaac and for me. Not wanting to impose and because I love children and grew up in Christian education, I had volunteered to shadow Isaac who was about five at the time. I tried to bridge the gap that spanned between Isaac and his typical peers throughout the week. Isaac struggled (still does) with communication and socialization. Luckily, I don't. I engaged the other little ones and helped Isaac to participate in their play. I helped to sow the seeds of understanding that they had more in common with my son than not. I understood their reticence. These were little ones and most had never been exposed to a child like Isaac.
I watched as they began to accept him as the week wore on.
And then about Wednesday....as our class rotated with the group to the Bible Story area...it happened.
Isaac was literally passed over. It would have been easy to have forgiven the children if they had exposed my son to this injustice...but this...this came from adults.
We all sat and listened to the story. The leader began separating the children into groups spread throughout the room. All those with blue shirts were Pharisees. All those wearing yellow were Sadducees. The crowd were those children wearing red. Isaac and I waited expectantly. Every possible wardrobe combination was named except the one Isaac wore. All the children had assembled into the various assigned groups. I watched dumbfounded and cradled my son in my lap who was thankfully socially unaware as the Bible story was played out around us. I kept thinking...surely now...ok, maybe now...there would be a part for Isaac. He would of course be included. The children weren't doing anything difficult. They would wave their hands when their group was pointed to. Isaac could do that!
I chose not to have a temper tantrum in front of the group of small children as they were led to present their Bible Story. As hurt and angry as I was as Isaac's mama, I understood that would have accomplished very little. Isaac and I waited till the story was over. I quickly took my son, went to the car, strapped him into his car seat, turned on the radio and threw him a toy. I fell into the driver's seat, slammed the door and lost it.
The indignant accusations soon spiraled into a red hot angry conversation with God. God is a big God and He is understanding of his children. He can handle our honest anger. He is big enough for that and I was in the mood to be honest and angry. "How dare you?" screamed my soul. "How dare you expect me to imagine that you came to this world to experience my hurt. How dare you claim that you understand my situation? You have never experienced this! Your son was perfect. How dare you claim to speak love into my heart that cares for this child with severe special needs?"
"My son is different. My son is misunderstood. People are afraid of this beautiful child. They are afraid of this little one that came from my innermost being." Tears were flowing and my tissues could not keep up with my nose. I hit the steering wheel sitting alone in the parking lot with my indignant wounded soul and my innocent and unassuming child.
"You cannot possibly understand how it feels to have people...your people God...to misunderstand, to cast out, to ignore, to disregard a child...because he is different. You cannot possibly understand what it is to love and nurture your own treasured child and watch as others berate and mistreat him."
I took a breath. Well kind of. My breathing was stifled by my tears. My rage gave way to absolute soul wrenching exhaustion. I began to quiet. In the quietness, I reflected on my accusations. Tears welled up again. They were different though. Not the enraged tears of a wounded mother protecting my young, these were quieter heart wrenching tears. I don't use that term as a cliche. I literally felt as if my heart was a washcloth and the tears were being squeezed from my soul as I realized.
God is the parent of the most special needs child of all. His son was completely different that any other human ever created. Jesus' perfection made him atypical. There was no baby ever made with greater care or more treasured than God's son. God put all his love into that child. He presented this baby with pride as a gift to the world. God saw the perfection and beauty and grace of his own.
And then...He watched. He watched as his boy was ridiculed and misunderstood and passed over and ignored and cast out....because Jesus was different. He watched as Jesus was berated and disregarded and tortured and killed.
Oh God. He understood and He knew. The realization hit. Still in the driver's seat of my parked car, I collapsed into the arms of the Creator of the Universe and wept. I let him hold and comfort my soul. I crawled up into the lap of God and let him quiet and calm me. All the while, Isaac sat in his car seat listening to the radio and now flipping through his Veggie Tales book.