Meeting new People
Ian loves meeting new people. While at Craig hospital, it happened almost every day. And I so enjoyed watching the show. Sometimes it was a new therapist or nurse, sometimes it was a therapy dog owner and sometimes it was a visitor who came especially to connect with him. He had a hand full of go to questions. What is your favorite movie and favorite song? Those questions were asked of everyone. But I could tell, who made the cut; who Ian decided was worth investing extra energy into. It was that select handful he asked question #3.
What is your super power? The question always evoked a puzzled reaction and usually some laughter. To help them along, he would re-phrase… If you could CHOOSE one super power, what would it be? When the person took the question seriously, in one fell swoop, the conversation plunged beyond small talk and Ian and the no longer stranger were quickly in the thick of it.
The heart of the matter
Ian has never been one for protocol. But his deftness for getting to the heart of the matter, or seeing others for who they are, or for cutting to the chase to discover who was really “for him,” is a trait I’ve admired. Privileged to sit in the front row of his life for so long, I’ve learned which therapists will be effective and which ones won’t. Wise to the pattern, I don’t schedule a specialist based upon their credentials, insurance preference, or by who was recommended. Instead, Ian’s bevy of support goes to the ones who “get” my handsome ginger. The ones he has captured. All others, probably doing their jobs well, don’t make a dent of difference.
But I’m Ian’s mom. I don’t get asked the question. Lately, though, because I heard him ask it of a new friend, I’ve been thinking about it. What would I want my superpower to be? Depending on my season of life, my responses would vary. Let’s see… here are some likely responses through the years — Invisible, very popular, a tennis prodigy, ageless. Today, if asked, I would choose to forgo my own super power and gift it to Ian. Since my life is preoccupied with Ian and his progress, passing my gift to him would profoundly help me. Oh if only, Ian possessed a TEACHABLE spirit.
I know, I know
Part of his, I know best, attitude about everything is his age. I get that. But life can be ruthless. Life isn’t gentle with her lessons. And I see pain in his near term future. Pain on top of pain. And he’s had enough pain. I’m in pain, just thinking about it.
Ever since his best buddy Malik left, the ginger kid has been in a funk and there is no tip toeing around it. Powerless and refusing to join him in the dumps, this morning, I went for a long, therapeutic bike ride.
I spent a lot of the ride daydreaming about a teachable Ian, until the Holy Spirit convicted me. On the return trip I heard some fresh, but age old insight. (Especially thankful to have seventy times seven times to get it right.
First, “Debbie, you can’t fix it.”
I’m reminded, almost audibly…. “Debbie, Ian’s challenges even if emotional, are bigger than you. Why are you carrying them? Again”? Ouch
Second, “Debbie you can’t protect him.”
I’m reminded that it’s our generation that has bred helicopter parents more than ever and I am definitely president of the club. We want to protect our kids from harm but in doing so, our efforts back fire. If we treat our kids as if they’re fragile, they’ll stay fragile. Ouch.
Defensively, I rant to the wind, “But, you don’t understand. Ian’s situation is unique and he can’t fend for himself and his judgement has been damaged and he is making us all miserable and Ian doesn’t know you like I know you and his decisions impact me and I can’t live through more hell and It’s not fair. None of it is fair. And….” Silence. Soon though, the thought, planted by Him no doubt, occurs to me. If Ian doesn’t need rescuing, why would he turn to God? Ouch.
Third, “Debbie you can’t change him.”
Have you ever tried to change someone you love? It works well, doesn’t it? I know of way to many broken marriages, broken because one couldn’t change the other. It’s tired and cliche, but do you know the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over and over and expecting a different result. Ouch.
Fourth, “Debbie, notice that LOG in your own eye.”
What log? What are you talking about God? Like a kick to the stomach, I realize that God would like nothing more than for ME to possess that same TEACHABLE spirit, I so desire for Ian. Of course God knows how much lighter my load would be and how much more content I would be, and how much less stressed I would be if I would believe Him at His word. Believe Him enough to trust Him to carry my handsome ginger. Not just through the appointments, planning the next steps, and the imminent scary decisions, but through Ian’s entire life — through the immature mistakes, through the poor decisions, through the futile efforts to find other gods.
With great humility, I’m cut down to my core. Because Ian is not relying on God, I’ve stepped in to handle the job. And I’m blowing it. What a pathetic substitute. God, forgive me. Triple Ouch.
And just like that He winks at me. Have you ever had a God wink? One of those incidental things that you try to explain and others don’t really get it, in the same way. That’s because it was intended just for you. I planned to share Luke 18:17. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” Because I thought the lesson of today was that I do have to be like a child… a child that is teachable.
BUT… because He is God and wanted to affirm and comfort me in His Godlike way, I googled Luke 18:27 by mistake. (A practice I use in order to quote it accurately). It was as if God Himself erected this last sign post on my bike ride just for me to carry this truth forever.
What is my superpower? My superpower is the ability to know how really weak and broken I am. And to know that I am a child of God. The God who says in him all things are possible. My superpower is that I’m the daughter of the only REAL SUPERHERO. And He is always, forever and ever, wearing His cape. Today, I am resting on that truth.