Here I am, in my bed, typing out another therapy session I never scheduled because I’d never have enough time to actually attend. I should though. I should find someone to help me work through all of this. For the next mental breakdown, for the next emotional collapse… I should have someone who knows what’s going on, someone who could help me on the fly if need be. But Max has a million and one appointments he needs to be taken to, and I have a million and two mom things I have to get to, and I have a million and three Lauren things that I will NEVER get to.
So this will suffice, wrestling my thoughts and emotions to fit them into the edges and points of letters and words, trying to convey to you all the miracles that happen to me every day. Though, syllables and sounds just don’t seem to do God’s work justice. Except on days like today. On days like today, his work is easy to do.
I was cleaning our room, tidying here and there, starting another task before finishing the first. I get like that when I’m anxious. I stress clean, and end up not getting anything done. I had a tightness in my chest, a worry I refused to acknowledge. It had been eating away at my focus all day, gnawing on my mind, trying to force my attention on it. Staring at the ground, desperate for an escape, Max’s swing caught my eye. I glanced over at him, so peaceful in his slumber. In a trance, I gave up cleaning, and moved towards him. I sat down gently, and wondered at his swaying peace. I couldn’t wrap my head around the beauty that gathered around his face, and decided to permanently take up residence there. But the wonder soon morphed into pain, as that worry slashed my daydream with my biggest fear. Will he ever know how beautiful he is? Will he ever look at me, and actually see me? Will he ever look my way and know who I am? My heart broke as I realized my answer was much like all his doctors’, “Only time will tell.” Time, such an awful bitch. I want her to speed up, so that fateful day will come, but slow down so I don’t wish his precious life away. Such an awful bitch when I just want to KNOW, whether his life will be one way or the other, so I can accept it and move on. So I can stop wondering whether my son will ever look me in the eye, and actually see that I’m there, and know who I am.
I wanted to hurl something across the room. I wanted to destroy the whole place. Dismantle the world to settle this one injustice in my heart. I wanted to collapse into a pile of flesh where I sat. I wanted to never move again, and only weep there until I was dust on this Earth. I wanted to get up, and run miles upon miles, until my whole body burned with exhaustion, the same exhaustion I felt in my soul. I wanted to do all of this, and disappear. Instead, I picked myself up off the floor, and made my way under the covers to the head of my bed. Stuffed up my pillow at its center, and urged my laptop to life. I stared at a white blank page, as that range of emotions raged within me. Overwhelmed, I ducked my head, and squeezed my eyes shut. I felt their hot warmth streak my face, spilling down onto my neck. The tightness in my chest radiated out towards my ribs, threatening to shatter each of them all at once. I gasped, and without moving, opened my eyes. My head drifted upwards, and my eyes rested on a doe, standing right in front of me, right outside my window. She looked at me, then over at Max in his swing, then back at me again. A peace came over me as she exchanged glances between Max and I, over and over, each time looking directly in my eyes.
Then a story came to me, one I had listened to my mom tell me ages ago. It drifted into my mind softly, not abruptly, not of my own volition. I believe it was placed there by an angel, this angel standing right in front of me. A fable about a woman who was trapped in a flooding home, praying relentlessly for God to save her. When a rescue boat came to her aid, she turned them down, saying that God was going to save her. Little did she know, that was God saving her.
It might seem unrelated to the story I’m telling, but it does.
My mom once that this experience with Max is going to touch more people’s live than I know. That Max is going to reach his sweet little hands into the cookie jar lives of men and women and moms and dads and people everywhere. That I may not see it now, and there may be instances of it that are never revealed to me, but that we are a part of a plan of care bigger than the one’s we get from Max’s doctors, bigger than his diagnosis, bigger than the tears I cry alone in the dark.
I waited and waited for it to happen, for someone to come to me and tell me their life had changed because of Max, because they saw what was going on, what we’d been through, and it rebuilt their life values. When that didn’t happen, I thought all this, all of of this suffering, was pointless. Why have we been struggling so much if there’s no good coming from it? I was constantly consumed with the question, “Why?!” Why for so many things. And I always came out of those exclamations of question marks into obliterating silence.
But his silence is my answer. I didn’t realize that Max was already touching lives, just by existing. His story is a gift to this world, and it’s my job to tell it.
I didn’t realize at the time that Max’s story couldn’t touch other people if I didn’t let it. If I kept it chained in my heart, so no one could see the pain, I also locked away the lessons I was learning. Lessons about how God uses bad things for good. The devil weaves his evil, and God reweaves it over and over for good. I didn’t realize at the time that pain is the most beautiful reflection of joy. And all at once I realized, all this time, it was me who was blind. And it didn’t matter if Max was, or wasn’t, or was somewhere in between. Because he KNEW me. He knew me, and loved me, and always would. I realized I was blind, but now I see.