Sunday morning brought with it the most beautiful gift: sleeping children. I was awake just before 5:00am and ninety minutes later my home was still quiet, still dimly lit, still a peaceful space for my heart to lean in and listen. Which was exactly what I needed to do.
Cannon has two appointments this week. Six if you count speech and occupational therapy, but those just feel like our rhythm now, hardly worth noting as appointments. But this week has been on my mind for a month. Whenever I know there will be clipboards and professionals and more of the same kind of paperwork for mama, the trepidation slowly seeps in to my heart like the fog of an early winter evening. In our rational minds we know the fog just didn’t show up, it came slowly and steadily, only growing in density at the slow pace that fog rolls in. But why does it feel like it just showed up, like it was clear and crisp one minute and the next we can’t see? Feelings can be tricky like that.
Still, I’m not entering in to this appointment as I have in the past. Six months ago I walked in to a room full of observers and I had my arsenal of disclaimers and qualifiers and sometimes but not always explanations for every delay, every flag, every disinterest. My heart was not ready for the thoughts of others then, because this was just a speech delay, just a boy growing in his own way on his own time. And now it is more than that, but my heart can finally handle it. It didn’t get easier, we haven’t had a breakthrough, and tomorrow is still as uncertain as ever.
But I think what happened is that I finally learned how to pray.
In the still of my morning, I started looking back in my journal. I didn’t plan to; I kept thinking someone would be wrestling their covers off the beds upstairs and groggy calls for mama would soon follow. But it stayed quiet. I will never stop being thankful for the days when I don’t have to chase quiet, when it just shows up at my door like a surprise gift wrapped in brown craft paper and raffia.
But the journal. It was one I started almost exactly a year ago, fully pregnant with my third baby and unaware in every way of what my heart would be navigating in the months ahead. I turned the pages along with the months, revisiting prayers and hopes and lessons of the year behind me and the words revealed a slow, steady growth of anxiety— evidence of the fog settling in. My memory tells me life was clear and crisp one moment and then incredibly difficult to navigate the next; but the record of my own thoughts reminds me that wasn’t the case, that it did come slow, riddled with patches of sunlight before coming upon a space so thick we had to just stop and wait it out. Memory can be tricky like that, too, I think.
The look back on our journey, on how we found ourselves here in this place with three different pediatric specialists in my phone contacts, was both humbling and hopeful. It was humbling because I see that I had only one way out of this in my mind, and that was for it to simply not be true. I could not see the future in any way other than I always had: healthy, happy, and— dare I say— easy? And it was hopeful because I can say today with the most honest, truthful motives in my heart that I may not see a way out of this, but I see only good coming from it.
I spent many months only praying for what I wanted, what I thought I absolutely could not do without. And this summer when I finally found myself at the end of the hope I was trying to manufacture on my own—the hope found in professional opinions and therapies and diets— that’s when the real hope, the hope in Jesus that does not disappoint, finally became tangible. It was certainly a street fight of a journey. It involved more than one instance of me letting my brokenness out on someone or something else and there were certainly tears. So many tears.
But this week, I’m not walking in to another appointment carrying my dreams in a broken cistern and I’m not armed with anything the world has offered me. But I am bringing hope, real hope. Because I understand now it never left us. I will hold my little boy’s hand, crouch down to put my face next to his and try to get him to say hello to the doctor; but then I’ll smile for him when he doesn’t. I’ll guide him to a table I’m certain he won’t want to sit at, and I’ll encourage him to complete tasks he will probably turn his face away from. I will cheerily ask him to demonstrate the few words and signs he does have, and then I’ll turn to the doctor and explain that he can communicate his wants at home, he really can. I will hold Cannon close when his body wants to run. And I won’t cry this time. Well, maybe I will. I’m still his mama, after all, and I reserve the right to cry any time.
And perhaps it won’t happen at all like this. Maybe Cannon will say hi, and sit at the table, and listen to instructions and smile with that most precious smile in the world. I don’t know how it will play out, but I do know that God has reserved the right to do at any time whatever might bring Him the most glory.
I’m no expert on prayer. A beginner, really, even though I’ve been doing it most of my life. But I know what God tells us about prayer: that we should do it in any circumstance, with persistence, often, and that when we don’t honestly know what to say, “Your will be done, Lord,” is more than good enough.
So that’s what I’m saying this time. Saying it and really meaning it. Your will be done, Lord.