Suffer the Little Children

Last night I dreamed about Jack. He was at his new house doing Jack things. He was playing and was happy. That was the entire dream. Short and fuzzy, as far as my dreams go.

Nevertheless, it was kind of a little gift.

My visit last week with Jack was brief, but thoroughly peaceful. When we got there and I saw him, I realized my hands were shaking. Too much anxiety festering, I guess, about the new placement and my separation from my son. He went through his Easter basket, separating out all the Reese’s so he could eat them first. Some things never change, by which I mean Jacky’s passion for peanut butter cups will be eternal. He latched quickly onto his two handheld fans that Charlie and Truman found for him at Target, and he was pretty jazzed about the bubble machine, too. He was utterly disinterested in the new clothes and sandals we brought. When I tried to sit by him, he gently pushed me away with one finger, haha. Teens.

Being in his new home, seeing him calm and peaceful, and talking to his house manager steeped me in a feeling of rightness.

Though I was literally quivering when we arrived, by the time we left, I felt amazing–like a human manifestation of calm. Where before I had been full of trepidation, I was now channeling the lovely peacefulness I felt at seeing Jack’s new situation.

Sometimes I think about the number of people on the earth, the number of people in Utah, the number of people in Utah who have autism or a child with autism, the number of people in the university where I teach writing, the number of people I know whose lives are a series of ongoing struggles, the number of people in my midst who face traumas and heartache even greater than mine–and I wonder how God knows us all. And how can He know us deeply. How?

I’ve been reading in 3rd Nephi about Jesus’s visit to the Americas after his crucifixion. It’s a tender handful of chapters for me, particularly the part where, after he says he is leaving to return to his Father, the people visibly yearn for him to stay. And because he is our Savior and brother, he knows this, is filled with compassion, and stays. His presence is the best gift.

Then, he asks the people to bring to him all those who are sick–in any manner, so he can heal them.

This passage where Jesus heals those with various illnesses and disabilities used to just do me in. Ugly crying, a sense of helplessness, and frankly raw jealousy–this is where I used to go when I read those verses. I wanted it so badly for Jack. For me. When Jack was little and I could not envision a happy and viable future for us, reading this account was basically painful.

This time when I read this passage, followed by the account of Jesus blessing the little children, one by one, I felt something different. It was more of a swelling–an appreciation for Jesus’s love for each person. He blessed the children one at a time. They were individuals, not merely a group. They were important to him and he made sure they knew it.

I did weep through this recent morning Book of Mormon study, but this time it wasn’t because of sorrow and envy. It was because I straight up knew that Jesus sees us, especially those of us who are suffering, powerless, vulnerable. He knows our hardship, and because he understands, he imbues us with power–his power–when we follow him.

God knows us because he’s the Father of our spirits. Jesus knows us because he experienced all human suffering, descending through that unthinkable pit so he can stand beside us, helping us to shoulder our burdens.

He’s so good. He’s so kind. I felt it as I read about his visit to the people of the New World.

He weeps with us, as he wept with the people in 3rd Nephi. He isn’t distant, removed, unfeeling. He is with us.

I love him for comforting me in the face of uncertainty and sadness.

I love him for giving me power to keep going, and confidence to keep trying.

I love him for knowing my Jacky, and doing the same for him.

 

 

  2 comments for “Suffer the Little Children

  1. Barb
    April 14, 2018 at 10:14 am

    He is with us. He is with me. LOVE.

  2. Emily M.
    April 14, 2018 at 10:14 am

    What I love about your writing is the way you open up your life and heart, so that when you witness of Jesus and His love it rings absolutely true.

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