Debbie and I have signed up for a six week seminar about ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder). Last week was the first week and a bit of an introduction. One of the speakers was a child psychologist. He said some of the things that I have been wishing the psychologist who originally diagnosed Avi could have heard and a lot of the things I wish he would have said. One thing he mentioned was that psychologists should stop and say to the parents, "Ok, let's take a time out and talk about how you are doing with this."
He said you should never leave a psychologist's office feeling alarmed, unsettled or upset. Those were the most mild of my feelings when I left the office of Avi's doctor. Most of all I felt numb.
We drove in silence until we reached a restaurant in Salt Lake that served Middle Eastern food. Neither one of us did more than poke at our food, our appetites left in the office along with the crayons Avi was so upset about leaving. This didn't pass for a few days.
I will always remember that the first step of path to acceptance began with a hug. Debbie's first day back at work was the worst day for me. Things started off well, but when Avi wouldn't look at me when I called him I felt lost and saddened. I called my mom who said she was close and we be right over. She had scarcely come in when I, like an over grown child, fell into her arms. When I let go I saw Avi had come over and was watching me worriedly. He reached up for me and when I picked him up he held me tightly. When I sat down and spoke to my mom about my heartache he sat with me. Surely this was a tender mercy.
One other thing the doctor said that stood out to me was that we don't know Avi's potential and shouldn't try to limit the course of his life. He said many doctors give these worst case scenarios, but the truth is that amazing things are happening and just as we could never know the course of a typical child's life, we should never tell ourselves that our child's abilities or potential are finite.
I've been thinking about how closely we watch Avi and Itai's progress. We are so thrilled with each success, and sometimes exasperated by setbacks. This made me think of a Heavenly Father, who may be watching our progress just as closely. I'm sure He is just as thrilled when we finally succeed in overcoming obstacles, and possibly He wonders why, after so much work, we continue to struggle with the same things. There are some that would tell us the same worst case scenario; we aren't capable of the same things others are capable of, our future is limited, or abilities fixed. But the truth is no one can set the bounds of our growth but ourselves. Ed J. Pinegar once said, "We are children of Heavenly Father. I don't know about you, but that gives me self esteem for life." I have always liked that.
Neal A. Maxwell once said something that stayed with me through the hardest parts of my mission and has supported me through the hardest points of my life. "When in situations of stress we wonder if there is any more in us to give, we can be comforted to know that God, who knows our capacity perfectly, placed us here to succeed. No one was foreordained to fail or to be wicked. When we have been weighed and found wanting, let us remember that we were measured before and we were found equal to our tasks; and, therefore, let us continue, but with a more determined discipleship."
How comforting to know that no one was placed here to fail. I know this is true. I truly thank God for His Son, and the matchless miracle of an empty tomb through which each of us can be filled.