It felt good.
But now it is four minutes to two (in the morning). My family sleeps (for now)
and I am here... trying.
I have started three different posts trying to express even just a small part of what I learned and felt at the three day conference on Autism I attended this last weekend.
I'm starting to think I can't.
I just want you to crawl into my brain and take a stroll around my heart, a have little tour of the "renovations" to my soul; to see how my thoughts, perceptions, assumptions, focuses, how they all shifted, and rearranged. How I gutted some areas and started from scratch. How somethings I'd tucked away, thinking they were wrong, got re-enthroned, validated by scientists that finally experimented enough to know what my mother heart knew instinctually all along.
Back in the north, where the sky is different. More still. (Literally less wind yes), but it's stillness made it seem more settled, confortable with itself instead of gusting all about trying to prove something. As I drove in the stillness of those Northern skyed mornings, I realized the Chelsea that lived in Edmonton four years ago was pre-diagnosis, pre-even concern for her baby boy, Aaron, who's perfection was so evident to her. And in that contemplation I felt the heavy irreversibility of our lives.
I've struggled with the same loss of innocence with this very conference realizing that knowledge becomes a part of us, the fruit once tasted offers no way back to unseen nakedness.
The message I've sat here for two hours trying to distill?
And we are enough.
Acceptance is not a defeat, but a realization that there is a eternalness to our being, that our strength is, that we are, and that all this struggle is about discovering what already is.
I love how Kelle Hampton put it, reflected on the 2nd birthday of her special needs daughter:
In the first two years, we talk about then and now, the difference between these two abstract eras distinct and concrete. But as the bridge between these two places slowly grows, the distinction likewise fades. A moment that changed me forever, yes; but the outcome a product of what was there all along. I had the love. I had the strength and courage. I was so capable of being her mama. I just didn't know it
I think about that a lot--how I am the same person today as I was the day before she was born even though it doesn't seem true. How I am the same person I am today as I will be thirty years from now. What stones will be unturned in life--whether victories or challenges--to reveal more love, more courage, more understanding? We evolve.
That evolution, with it's necessary patience, development, and growth (because they are attached to our concept of time) are to some degree all earthly constructs, at least in the way we view them. We will grow forever, but their is a permanency to potential. We definitely don't need to sit around belligerently and say "Oh well this is me, take it or leave it!" We need to be striving to reach our capacities, but somehow we also need to find the courage to let go of the fears that we are not, no wil we ever be enough. But instead trust that with God's help we came become all we are meant too. That we are of worth right now, despite it all, we have worth, simply as children of God.
We are His. Just as Aaron is mine and that is all he needs to be.
I drove the 5 hours up and back by myself, which really worked out.
I loved having the time to be with myself and just process.
I listened to a lot of music. It'd been a while since I'd listened to anything in the car but Ice Age or Finding Nemo. I sang and cried, some times alternating, sometimes simultaneously. Did some mad drumming on the steering wheel and kept it on cruse control so my high way speed didn't increase with any given songs tempo. Experimenting with all I'd learned about self-regulation, I really let myself go (even tried a bit of hand-flapping) and decompressed and it felt superb.
I realized I kept listening to songs with mountains in the lyrics. Inspirational soaring melodies, with climaxing strings and electric guitars...you'll make it songs. Endurance songs. Songs ya want blaring in your ears as you cross the finish line.
Like Hilary Week's "That's Who I Am" (my 2012 anthem! Best 99 cents I ever spent!!!)
"I can feel myself breath really breath again.
Gonna let myself dream, truly dream again.
I won't ever stop trying, this is my story and I'm still writing.
I'm uncovering strength I never felt before.
There's a fire inside that's never burned before.
My fears are all dying
It's time to spread my wings and start flying!
This moment is mone
and I 'm gonna take it
Today is a gift and I will embrace it
I am strong and I believe that is who I'm meant to be
every step that I take is lifting me higher
ever corner I turn the future is brighter
I am brave enough to face the storm and stil stand
that's who I am"
And then as I calmed and found myself seeking out slower, more tender songs. I love love songs that I categorize as "Charity songs"... not the "oh baby" ones...but the ones full of gratitude and wonder at how encompassing and carrying love can be....ones that you could imagine singing to the Lord.
Celine Dion, Because you Loved Me, Lifehouse's Everything, Chantel Kreviazuk's Feels Like Home, Josh Groban, You Raise Me Up, you get the idea.
These kind of songs often help me contemplate how reliant I am on God, how much He loves me and how His love makes all the difference.
As I drove, grappling with new understanding of ways that Aaron's mind processes people in his life, the perspective shifted and it was Aaron singing to me. That in so many ways I was his everything, that it was the safety of my love that anchored him in a world that constantly alluded him. That no matter what anyone else saw or didn't see, what they understood or didn't understand, I was there to to love him unconditionally, because he is mine.
He is mine. Just as we are His. And that is all we need to be.
God sees us as we truly are, in an eternal now.
And if we let Him He'll show us who we really are and who we always have been.
Usually these lessons come through Him showing us glimpses of the eternalness of others, and helping us see the love that they are enough to deserve.
My lesson includes a little boy named Aaron.
It is what it is.
And it is meant to be.
I am meant to be strong. And I am.
Even if I cry through half the songs on my play list;)