Since autism, my life has somehow careened into the twilight zone and my to-do list has gone from cute comments on post-it notes to a scroll requiring two small gnomes to transport it from one room to the next. I try to imagine if there is a way to use my time more efficiently – to wake earlier, to go to bed later, to take coffee as an IV drip. But there is only one of me. And my time feels fragmented, as if I have suddenly lost my ability to focus on anything. I can’t keep a thought in my head.
I have to do better, I told myself as I pulled out a book and sat on the top step near the bathroom. Max, my 22 year-old son who is diagnosed with autism, requires supervision and direction when he is getting ready for bed, but there is a little “wait time” as well. Perfect opportunity to multi-task, I thought. I opened a daily devotional, one of my favorites, and realized it had been two weeks since I had read from this book.
“Clunk…Glug.” A deep metal noise came from the bathroom, the kind that sounds like a plumber’s house call. “Mom,” Max yelled. “The sink broke.”
“Hold on,” I groaned thinking that despite another emergency, I will use my time efficiently. I tucked my ice coffee under my arm, picked up a stack of clean towels that belonged in the bathroom, and swiftly leaned over to lift my book from the floor, so as not to leave a “mess.” Essentially, one should never lean over to pick up anything when one has an ice coffee tucked under one’s arm. As I bent down a waterfall of creamed coffee, a direct shot, splattered across my favorite devotional, and all over the off-white carpet around it.
I sat back down on the step and sighed. I lifted my dripping devotional by a corner. The pages were already buckling and stuck together, my hand written notes a waterlogged blur. These words have been my comfort and peace over this past year. What will I do without this book, and why did I let two weeks go by without opening it? What was I thinking? And, what must God be thinking? Tenderly, I blotted the pages with a towel as if I were wiping tears from a child’s eyes. I followed the ribbon bookmark and peeled open my devotional. And at the top of the brown stained page, I saw these words:
“Never will I leave you. Never will I forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)
He is waiting for me, I gasped. Even when I am caught in my own to-do list, distracted by breaks and spills and the blur of life. He sees me. He wants me to come to Him, not as another burdensome item on my to-do list, but as a child comes to a loving father, arms raised high and waiting to be lifted. God wants to drench us with His lavish love. No matter what is going on. “I love you” – that’s what God is thinking.
Just then Max opened the bathroom door, in varying stages of undress, and passed me a pile of interesting metal objects that, I could only conclude, had come from the sink. “Mom?” he said with his bare feel nearly stepping in the puddle. “We need to go to Lowe’s.” I watched as Max’s eyes lowered to the huge brown spot between us. He took a sudden leap backwards and yelled,
“Clean up on isle 12.”
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