Beauty for Ashes

You know that therapy exercise (for those who’ve been to therapy, like me–yay therapy #therapyiscool) where they have you examine what you’re feeling, and then step back and examine what you are thinking in association with those emotions? It’s like the amazing human ability to look at our feelings as an observer and tease out why the emotions are occurring, which also gives us the chance to find the holes in our thought patterns and challenge faulty perceptions.

Behold, the human brain. It’s phenomenal and powerful.

Anyway, I have been putting myself through this exercise by observing my feelings regarding Truman’s Sensory Processing Disorder diagnosis and the accompanying complications it has wrought on my life.

Here’s what I was feeling, along with the *flawed* perceptions that peopled my thoughts:

  1. Frustration: that everything with Truman takes too long, that he is so particular about foods, that he generally won’t cooperate, that my parenting energy must once again be ratcheted up to match this challenge.
  2. Guilt: that my family has so many specialized needs, that we are a burden to the world.
  3. Anger: that Truman can’t just roll with it.

When I stopped to look at my thoughts behind these negative emotions, it stopped me cold.

I literally subconsciously worry that my unique family is a burden to the world?????

How tragic is that?

When I look at it from an outside/neutral perspective, I think it’s ridiculous.

Last Sunday morning, I read from 3 Nephi, where darkness covers the New World at the time of Jesus’s death. For three days, a tangible darkness permeates the land and can’t be driven away by light. The people literally cannot kindle fire.

I have personally experienced several periods of thick, unrelenting darkness in the last fourteen years.

As I listened to these verses, I saw those dark times as an encapsulation of mortality. My experience validates the theory that life contains inevitable seasons of deep darkness which will persist despite our best efforts to invite or create light around us. Sometimes it is simply going to be dark. The end.

Then I went to church and it was like a real-life manifestation of the rest of 3 Nephi– you know, the part where Jesus’s voice pierces them in the darkness.

This is what I heard, internally:

Truman’s special needs aren’t getting in the way of you living your life. Your family isn’t a burden to the world.

Thank you. Wow. Yes. Did I mention, THANK YOU?

Then this:

Your kids’ needs are giving you and others an opportunity to give consecrated service and grow in empathy. This is the point of life on earth. 

You guys, I went from mentally and physically holding onto so much frustration and stress that my right shoulder was completely knotted up in a perpetual pain spasm, to at once being perfectly healed (again) by The Healer. My shoulder stopped hurting. My frustration ebbed. The bitterness seeped out. Those dark emotions left. It was like someone shone a light on my life and instead of madness, I saw beauty.

I saw that I am well equipped to handle Truman’s sensory issues and food neuroses. I know him best. Thanks to the occupational therapy team, I now understand his needs and am viewing them with both clinical neutrality and swelling compassion (don’t ask me how that works). I suddenly saw my efforts to help him do life successfully not as an incredible burden, but as a lovely means of helping someone I love.

This is what Jesus did with the lost sheep, the black sheep, the hurt sheep. He didn’t–doesn’t–see us as a burden. He sees us as the point. We are His purpose. We are the reason and the meaning behind His enormous sacrifice. He’s teaching me to do what He does for me.

And so there it is. Once again, I am empowered by Jesus. He found me in the darkness, humbled by disabilities (yet again). He saw me in meekness brought on by trial, and gently taught me how to face my life.

  6 comments for “Beauty for Ashes

  1. Terry
    November 28, 2018 at 5:54 pm

    Yes, it is the point! Thank you for reminding me Megan. Love to you and your family this holiday season❣️

  2. Barbara
    November 29, 2018 at 7:56 am

    “He gently taught me how to face my life.” This is an amazing miracle. Praise.

  3. Heather Lazcano
    November 29, 2018 at 10:03 am

    “I went from mentally and physically holding onto so much frustration and stress that my right shoulder was completely knotted up in a perpetual pain spasm“ this has literally been me the last 3 years! Oh how I pray for relief and healing.

  4. Emily
    November 29, 2018 at 12:34 pm

    Once again, you’ve brought me to tears and touched my heart. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences and for teaching me how to reevaluate my own.

  5. Jennie
    November 29, 2018 at 12:50 pm

    Love this, MG.

    Also, you’re a shining example of being receptive and open. Something I need to learn and learn from you.

    Huzzah.

  6. Jessica Searle
    December 13, 2018 at 12:33 pm

    This post pierced my heart and I thank you for helping me to feel more understood and less alone. Right now, my 5 year old who is on the lower-functioning end of the autism spectrum is obsessed with being in the car. We drive around aimlessly wasting gas many times a day. And I’ve read your blog long enough to know that you’ve been there. Thank you for helping me see that this is a service to him because I love him and I want him to feel calm and in his happy place. I already knew this, but thank you for helping me to see it as a gift. I love your writing so very much!

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