It was quiet.
I had no reason to trust that it would last.
Max was in his bed, sleeping perhaps, sweat still on his brow. I was sure the house was moving, or maybe I just couldn’t get my sea legs.
There is a part of me that goes numb on nights like this, weeks like this one. My tired brain just can’t yawn open wide enough to let it all in.
My precious son; he is gentle of spirit. He his joy. He is breathtaking beauty. With all the challenges he faces in an ordinary day, he does not give up. But one would never imagine that this 190-pound linebacker of a guy would have a body that is so extraordinarily sensitive to change. One simple tweak of his diet, and the plates of the universe can shift. Riots and looting break out, as if the world were coming to an end right here our living room. Autism, which is not who my son is but what he has, can be relentless.
In our quiet house, my ears still rang from the sounds and fury as if I had developed tinnitus. My shaking legs could go no further, and I dropped to my knees before the overstuffed chair in the corner of my kitchen. This is where I kneel when I need to mainline prayers. This chair belonged to my mother, and to her mother before that. When I pray here it reminds me that I am tethered to something bigger than myself.
I dropped my head down and pulled my long blonde hair forward around my face like a fence. This is not our normal, I protested as I put my hands over my face. And then I sank even lower into the reality, into the truth, that…sometimes…this is our normal. These are not the postcards we send others from the journey. I pressed my hands hard into my face and whispered words I never allow to leave my lips, I don’t want to do this again.
One-word prayers slowly rose upward from my bruised and bewildered heart, like a bubble from a deep-sea diver.
Help Lord …
I kept my head buried in the chair to block out the world, to stay below the surface. And then something happened.
These were not my words. These were not my thoughts. It was as if they were being fed to me from stage left. I spoke them, because I had no words of my own.
“God has not wired me to be a quitter.”
My head bounced up and I nearly gasped at the sound of my own voice, so clear and strong. I kept my hands over my face, as if it were not yet safe to come out. Maybe my mind was playing tricks on me. But, then again…could this actually be true?
I sat back on my knees, and my eyes popped open. Is this how God has wired me? Is this how He has actually designed all of us…to persevere?
My mind was now wide-awake in the middle of the night, as if a shot of caffeine had surged through me.
I pulled up every image I could of Jesus on this earth, searching for the one where he threw his things into a bandana and tied them to the end of a stick. Nothing.
Did he stomp out of the upper room when he knew he would be betrayed? Did he hoist a white flag in the Garden of Gethsemane, when he knew he would endure the cross? Did he lift his body, broken and bloody, off the cross by the power that spoke the universe into being?
No. He persevered.
God has made every one of us in His image, setting eternity in our hearts, and conforming us to be more like Christ - the One who overcame the grave, the One who overcame the world, the One who lives today. Could there be anything more opposite of quitting.
I pushed my hair away from my face knowing this was not the end…of anything. I breathed deeply, and spoke the words again, but this time as a declaration.
“God has not wired me to be quitter.”
Keep going, my friends.