Thursday, March 20, 2014

I Slipped

It was one of those afternoons, Dear Hubby was out of town on business again, (which of course, involves dining & wining others a concept I’ve all but forgotten), as I’m at home learning how to eliminate 54 foods (favorite foods!) from Rock Star's diet. It was raining again still; PMS was on its way. Boy Wonder had completely smashed his glasses in anger at school just a couple hours prior; I had somehow managed to not blow my temper in the car when I saw what was left of his glasses and read the letter from the teacher describing what happened - especially since this was the second time in the past 10 days he’d broken them.

I had maintained my cool; I was inhaling deeply and exhaling a prayer. The ever fragile time-bomb, otherwise known to disability parents as the hours between 4 and 7 pm, slowly ticked away.  As I went to transfer the laundry from the washer to the dryer, I realized Boy Wonder had been suspiciously silent for the past 10 minutes, so I stepped out of the mud room to investigate, which made me remember I should pull some frozen meat out of the garage fridge for dinner tomorrow, but then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw the dog following me to the garage and realized it was time for him to go potty, just then I heard Boy Wonder yell for me from the back patio, so I spun around to head back up the mud room steps when it happened: I slipped.

And I went down in searing, instantaneous pain. It hurt. Everywhere: my shin, my knee, my hip, my elbow, my broken fingernail. How I managed to not leave a blue-streak longer than any Ralphies father had hanging over Lake Michigan, I will never know. It hurt that bad!

The noises continued whirling: the barking of the dog terrorizing the neighbors cat, Boy Wonder asking ‘where are you mom?’, Rock Star wanting homework assistance, my phone dinging, the dryer buzzing.  Still I sat on the floor in the mud room, allowing the tears to fall freely. I was in pain and I did not want to move.   I just wanted someone to come rescue me, someone to tell me to go lie down, someone to bandage me.

When it crosses my mind: “Isn’t this just like the journey of raising a child with disabilities?”

How often I slip as a parent!  I am not perfect and this road is full of twists and turns and slippery slopes. Over-exhaustion causes me to be short-tempered with my spouse. Frustration of always being needed causes me to speak in unnecessarily harsh tones to my children. The pressure of needing to maintain a clean diet depletes much of the joy of cooking. Endless therapy appointments prevent me from having “me” time. Unpredictable and unexpected illnesses cause me to break my rare social dates with friends. And once again, I feel myself tumble down.

Each slip, causes another bruise.
Each fall brings a bit sharper pain than the last slip.
It is often a solitary journey- this life with disability - to slip and find no one there to lend a hand.

Yet on the hard, cold cement floor of the mud-room, nursing my already-turning black & blue bruise, breathing in and out, I hear the gentle voice of God whisper to me through all the noise: “Encourage the exhausted and strengthen the feeble. Say to those with anxious hearts, ‘Take courage, fear not…your God will come’.”  Isaiah 35:3-4

It is in this unexpected slip I am reminded that I MUST schedule quiet time into my calendar. I MUST guard my alone-with-God-morning and treat it more precious than coffee time with a treasured girlfriend. I MUST pencil a technology-free block of time into the start of my week, without fail. I MUSt follow the example of my Jesus who often withdrew from the crowds and went away to pray. For when I neglect this sacred time…I slip.

Soothing words for my aching wound flow from the One who comes alongside me on this journey:

If the Lord had not been my help,
    my soul would soon have lived in the land of silence.When I thought, “My foot slips,”
    your steadfast love, O Lord, held me up.When the cares of my heart are many,
    your consolations cheer my soul

Psalm 94:17-19 ESV