Saturday, February 21, 2009

Starfish, Starfish wonder what you are...

This little ditty on Sara Groves' Station Wagon CD spun through my head as I spotted something on the surface of the sand and lunged for it like treasure.

starfish starfish wonder what you are fish
time and tide go washing by and
you don't even care

peaceful creature come and be my teacher
flotsam, jetsam swish and swirl.

I'm not saying I remembered all those lines at the time and obviously I got my sea creatures mixed up. Not until I sit to write this, did it dawn on me that I found a sand dollar not a starfish....pshchw details! Treasure is treasure and I don't happen to know a sand dollar song! Do you? The tune put me in mind of the book, One Small Starfish by Anne Addison which is excellent resource...which led me to...the mind races so fast from one thought to the next, you know how it goes. Soon the the ideas turn into ones that you know aren't your own. They take on a symbolic, metaphoric, distinctly divine quality.

The thoughts flooded so fast I could identify them as from God. I can't fabricate ideas that quickly let alone spell them out in words. I have learned to run my thoughts through two filters in order to prove them of God. First, do they correlate with Scripture? Second, do they agree with His nature? If yes on both counts, then I take it as from God to me. If no, then the voice could be my own or that of the enemy. Indeed, these sounded like His voice.

What a glorious, sunny, low tide shore! No question, I'd found a whole sand dollar. Stoked, I turned it over in my hand to see the underside. Despite it's unquestionable wholeness, it had a definite dent. Not broken or cracked, just pushed as if it were an organic 3-dimensional model of the top down SPECT scan view of Reid's brain I had just reviewed with a third psychiatrist. Smack dab in the right front quadrant was this considerable impression. Hmuh? uncanny representation of the white hot, overactive spot that makes his scan resemble a stop action photo of fireworks lighting up a July sky. The hot spots, otherwise referred to as a "ring of fire," were top priority to treat. This little gem of a sand dollar reminded me of my fearfully and wonderfully made boy in a split second. He is an incomparable find...placed in my path...specifically for me...unique, beautiful and whole...impressive and impressionable...that, like the sand dollar, arrived smaller than average.

Just steps down the beach, I found another sand dollar. What a day! Is this one Allie? Bigger, cleaner, not perfect either, but more speckled and gray than marred, like the first. My steps quickened to instinctively "show and tell" with two little girls playing in my stride. "Look, wanna see what I found? Aren't they special?" I imagined saying these words as well as, "You can keep it." Before I could utter them, they caught in my throat with ostenstibly selfish thoughts like, "They're mine. Finders keepers. You can look but, please don't touch them." I walked quietly by instead of stopping. Now, intentionally keeping my mind open to more thoughts from the Father. "Keep them, they're for you today," He seemed to say.

Hmmm...keep them as a sign...of this push and pull dynamic that is perpetual for letting out and reeling in the line of a kite. Relinquishment and responsibility. How many times have I revisited this parenting topic? When will I have done it sufficiently and in a healthy way without one ounce of rationalizing? In my head, I know the goal: our kids are not our own; they come from God; they are arrows in our quiver to be sent forth; ours for a time to prepare for independence. Heart knowledge is a different matter.

How many layers must there be to this teary onion? I have released my kids multiple times and in myriad ways, yet still I catch myself with hands grasped figuratively, hanging on with a comment, or controlling through an expectation. Am I hoarding my kids as treasures or sending them out for the glory of God?

I gave Reid the middle name of Samuel knowing full well the story of Hannah's infertility and her bargain with the Lord if He remembered her. Like Sarah, I named Reid Samuel because "I asked the Lord for him." But could I also "give him over to the Lord for his whole life" like she did? Not exactly. I could barely send him to school at age 13, let alone leave him to be raised by priests. I recall a relinquishment prayer exercise embedded in Catherine Marshall's book, Adventures in Prayer? More than once, it has been an issue for me.

Clearly, relinquishment is more a process than an event. At first blush, it sounds like turning someone over to the wolves. As an adoptive mom, it also smacks of the dreaded rejection curse which has deep roots we don't want to dig up (let alone reinforce in anyone's spirit). The nuances of it though, involve trusting people and powers outside myself. As a special needs mom, I have done significant mental wrestling before trusting nursery workers to love my child, Sunday school teachers to accept his quirky behaviors, an audience at Borders to receive his singing well, neighbors to figure out how he's different, playmates to perceive his ill-expressed intentions, teachers to be insightful, wise, and responsive, babysitters to be of good character, even family to expand their minds and hearts. So it is, that relinquishment and trust are inextricably linked.

For Reid to ever have hope of an independent, full life (that remotely resembles his sister's), I have to squelch my own internal control freak and let go of protecting him, speaking for him, answering for him, meeting all his needs. I need to trust numerous others to stand in those gaps. Sounds easy enough but is hard with a child who has unpredictable development and neurology.

During a season of perpetual anguish when I was exhausted and unsure how to help Reid or know what to do next, I sought healing prayer for both of us. I envisioned myself helpless on a shore and described Reid as a boat floundering at sea in high winds, adrift without a rudder at the whim of a raging storm. Truthfully, at that time he had little control over his own body or mind--the embodiment of vestibular anarchy. The answered prayer came not as a solution or reply but as a picture of Jesus with him in the boat. Much like the disciples in Mark 4, Reid was and is and actually will be fine because of that single fact alone. Jesus is with Him. Can I yield to that? Can He be trusted?

Jesus Himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke Him and said to Him, "Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?" And He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, "Hush, be still." And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm. And He said to them, "Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?" Mark 4:37-39

"...the LORD was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of a gentle blowing. 1 Kings 19

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." Deuteronomy 31:7-9,,

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful as always. Sometimes I am amazed at how much God loves us that He would communicate with us in such meaningful, tangible ways. I have always loved sand dollars - how God-like that you found two that so beautifully represent your children.