(written Sunday night 11/22/15)
Today, as I sit to write this, I want to reflect on this morning’s thoughts. The idea came to me as I stood in church; next to me was my amazing, handsome 24 year old autistic son who stood to my left, swaying to the music that was muffled by the big bulky yellow head phones he chose to wear. I thought about how years ago, Sam wearing these headphones might have embarrassed me or made me feel uncomfortable that people would stare. Today my main concern was for Sam and for his comfort in the midst of his church family.
The day began in the typical Sunday way as we prepared to get ready as a family for church. When I woke Sam up, I could visibly see he was off a tad but how many of us wake up chipper and ready to go every single day? Obviously Sam is no different in that sense but the difference with him is, we haven’t yet found the key to unlock his voice or self-expression of what is wrong with him when something is wrong. As we prepared to get ready, Sam let out one of his bellowing yells that goes right through you. I knew from the look on his face that this was more than a typical yell, it was his way of saying something is wrong with him that he can’t express to us. I had a sense that he had a headache and thus, I gave him some ibuprofen. Truth be told, I wasn’t sure that would take care of the underlying concern.
Fast forward an hour to church – it was either allow Sam to be comfortable in these crazy headphones or to allow the loud music to pierce thru him and chance having to leave because of discomfort (by the way, did I mention that most individuals with autism have a heightened sense of everything – especially sight, sound and touch?). As I sat worshipping next to my son, with eyes closed focused on my Lord, I couldn’t help but weep. There are most days that I can keep it together knowing Sam’s angels are keeping him. Then there are those days like today that I am weak and my heart aches for this young man next to me, who I love greatly, who I long for God to completely heal. I mean we have seen amazing things in his life. His smile, when he’s feeling up to par, is so vibrant – it lights up the room and every heart near him feels it! This young man who never complains that he can’t complain or doesn’t complain when he gets looked over, or when someone just walks by him and doesn’t say hi because they’re not sure how to respond to him. Today I cried. Was it for Sam or for myself? Maybe both. I cried before the throne room for healing; I cried for those who have no idea the day in and outs that our children contend with; I cried for all those others out there who have a voice but don’t know how to use it; for those who are silenced by society or others in their lives and can’t live their true self that God made them to be. I cried for others who have things worse. I cried for my friends, whose son is in the hospital for the 23rd day after a terrible accident, a young man who had everything going for him – not knowing if he will walk again or ever have his life back as he knew it. Then I worshiped. I worshiped because God is a good God and amazing. I worshiped because He is the answer no matter what tomorrow holds. I worshipped because I know that God loves me and loves my son even more than I do. I worshiped because I will worship all the days of my life knowing that God holds both Sam and I in the palm of His hand! I worshipped because my worship isn’t based on if Sam ever gets healed or not, it based on my friendship and relationship with God – He is a friend that will never leave me and that is worth more than any riches in the world! Worship Him and see what peace you’ll find in His midst!
When you hear Sam give an outburst, let it remind you to pray for healing – not only for him but for all those who have no voice or who are struggling….. and then let it remind you, to worship!! Love you all!
One thought on “Can you hear through those big yellow headphones?”
Well Sheila, this is amazing! I agree with you that this is raw. That’s what makes it real and authentic. You beautifully described a real moment in life. While you are wondering what will help your son find his voice, know that you have found yours.