Wednesday, January 19, 2011
My middle child
Samuel has a current fascination with “reading” his little Bible. He can’t actually read most of the tiny print, but he spends much of his day curled up with the little book, flipping pages with no pictures. I asked him last night why he is so interested in reading the Bible and his response was, “because God loves us all the time.” Wow, what a beautiful work of healing my God is doing in the heart of my middle child.
Samuel is a deep thinker. He is the kid who will be still and play for hours. He is happy to be alone with his thoughts. He plays well with others, but he is just as happy on his own. He has a vivid imagination and thinks deeply about everything. It is rare that those thoughts express themselves, but when they do, hold on to your hat. He will blow you away with the depth and complexity of his little brain. You will start to think you have a handle on how much he observes and understands, and then out comes something seriously profound. I am always in amazement. That said, he doesn’t show his emotion, his pain, on his face much of the time, and he rarely shows it in his behavior, but he dwells on it deep in his brain.
He has so deeply grieved his sister. Their relationship was tumultuous at best. Samuel’s calm and peaceful nature always clashed with Abigails…ummm..passion..spunk. To put it frank, she picked on him, and my sensitive boy never quite understood that. The unresolved personality conflict has caused his grief to be more complicated than you would imagine for a 4 then 5 year old. Add to that the depths of his brain, and I have spent many an hour on my knees for my boy.
Most people could see changes in his behavior. But most couldn’t see the depths of his pain like I could. I can see it in his eyes. His eyes are very expressive, even when his face is not. I saw rebellion in him. I saw anger, frustration, confusion. Many of the things he said over those so difficult months were painful for me to hear. I couldn’t fix this for him. As a mother, that is such a helpless feeling. His personality did a 180. I saw major evidence of this in his relationship with Abigail’s best friend. He is the same age as Abigail. Samuel would yell at him and was continually angry with him. I think he was projecting a bit of his unresolved feelings about Abigail. These have been tough days.
Yesterday, Samuel found a car to give to this little boy because he knew how much he would like it. Wow, what a change. Yesterday, he read his Bible all day long. Yesterday, he smiled at me and I didn’t see that haunting pain. Yesterday we talked about Abigail with smiles and laughter, and we talked about adoption and the future. He still longs for his sister, but there is healing. I know he will always long for her. I know that he will have to come back through this grief journey again and again, but God has given me such hope in His beauty in these ashes of my son’s life.
What has made the difference? It all goes back to Love. In the beginning we were focusing on the idea of an accident and that this accident wasn’t his fault. In time we as parents, but also his counselors could see that he was just shutting down. He wasn’t arguing with us about the fault issue, but he was just trusting us less and less with how he was really feeling. He wasn’t buying it. We shifted our focus to forgiveness. We began talking to him about forgiving others and Abigail forgiving him, but along with that, God’s forgiveness that is freely offered to us all. We all know that burden of needing forgiveness for a variety of serious and not so serious offenses. Samuel was carrying that burden—a burden too heavy for most adults, and the only way to move out from underneath it is to ask for forgiveness. Once he did that, we have seen the most beautiful freedom again. I can see a physical change in him. He looks lighter. His eyes have hope. He asked for forgiveness and felt the freedom from the burden of guilt and blame. The transformation has made my heart soar.
We have a long road to go. Healing will take a long time. Grieving will last forever. But God has given us hope again. The cycle will only be complete when we are with her again and we are complete again. Until then, I am trusting God to carry my little ones through. Because, “God loves us all the time.”