Monday, October 13, 2008

No Different

I guess I always imagined that when a doctor delivered the worst news a parent could possibly imagine it would be like a bomb going off in the room. The few times I allowed my mommy brain to “go there”, dreaming up worst case scenarios long before Avery was even born, I pictured a long conference table, a pastor with a gentle, reassuring hand resting on my shoulder, several doctors in white coats, and then myself curled in a little ball on the floor, unable to absorb “the news,” whatever that might be. So when a doctor actually did deliver horrifying news and I found myself still sitting, in ‘the chair’, the outside world seemingly unchanged, it was nothing like I had imagined. It didn’t feel real. Later that evening, as I began making the phone calls to our family and closest friends, I still felt detached as I repeated the unbelievable news over and over.

I experienced similar emotions two weeks ago, when Dr. Franz said as nonchalantly as we were discussing the weather, “Well, it wouldn’t be lying to say Avery is autistic.” No. It wouldn’t be lying.

And it wouldn’t come as a shock. In fact, it was really just confirmation of what I’ve suspected all along.

A friend recently asked me what I mean when I said that God is “no different” now than he was before Avery was diagnosed. I guess I hadn’t really ever thought about this, assuming it was obvious. Since I began writing about our journey with Avery, I have gotten the occasional email asking for advice about dealing with TSC (which I love!) but I’ve never gotten a question about the deep stuff I write about.

So, what do I mean when I say “My God is no different than he was before Avery was diagnosed?” I have to give credit where it’s due here because I think I first read the phrase “no different” on one of my favorite blogs Bring the Rain. When I first read the words, “He’s no different.” My heart just latched on to this idea because it’s so simple, and so true.

What I mean is this: If I believed that God was a good, loving, and faithful God before TSC, do I believe differently now? The answer is also simple. No.

He’s no different.

I don’t claim to know or understand, why bad things happen to good people, but I do know that every day I wake up and walk through the landscape of my worst nightmare, and you know what, it’s not nearly as bad I as I imagined. I can only believe that I am able to navigate the rough waters of our life because the Lord has been with me every step of the way, and carried me through the hardest times. This is probably the thing about faith and religion that people struggle with the most, and I am certainly not an “expert” when it comes to the answers, but for me remembering that God doesn’t change when the circumstances of our life get difficult, brings me such peace.

That’s not to say that we don’t have difficult days here. It’s not saying that everything is all roses and rainbows, or that we never feel broken and alone. It’s not saying that I don’t still cry myself to sleep sometimes, or wonder what life would be like if I woke up to find out that this was all just a bad dream- a really long bad dream. . .

But you see, the ‘no different’ belief is true about Miss Avery. She is no different two weeks after being officially diagnosed with autism, than she was before. When I look at Avery do I see a different child? Do I love her any less?

Of course not.

If you took all the quirky things that make Avery autistic away, well then, she wouldn’t be our Avery. The Avery that we know and love everything about.

She’s no different.

She’s still my Avery Elizabeth. She is still ornery, mischievous, loving, stubborn, strong, and simply adorable. She still has the biggest green eyes I’ve ever seen and I could stare into them forever. She has a special little “happy” dance she only when her sister comes home from school. She walks/marches with her hands behind her back like a colonel inspecting his troops. She loves Elmo. She loves White Cheddar Cheetos. She loves to go for long walks in her little pink car. She loves trains and cows. She loves when I sing and dance around the living room with her in my arms. She loves to snuggle and prefers being held and rocked in her rocking chair to sleeping in her bed. She loves touching people’s hair and is fascinated by their teeth. She loves it when Grandma wears “pretty” shirts with beads or embroidery. She loves her sissy and loves to be chased. She loves to be tickled. She loves to swing. She loves to spin and loves to be upside down.

She loves.

Call her autistic, call her disabled, call her “challenged.” It doesn’t matter. She’s so much more than her diagnosis. She’s our Avery.

And she’s no different.

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1 comment:

Bethany said...

Now that last picture is about too cute for words!! Look how adorable she is!! Big pink bow and polka dot shirt?!!

Your words are perfect...but they always are.

I love you all and wish we were there to relish in the good times and put the pieces back together in the bad. I miss ya!!