The challenges we face on a daily basis seem overwhelming at times. We have a son, a special son, who is so amazing and so dear. He is gifted and has a remarkable view of the world. He has a perceptive mind and sees things that are lost to others. His gift for language never ceases to amaze me and his ability to choose just the right word or analogy to paint a picture that captivates your mind is unsurpassed in my experience. His spiritual observations and insight are a constant challenge to me.
But he also has bipolar disorder.
It isn’t possible in one initial blog to tell you everything you need to know. I can’t go back and give you the entire history unless you have time for a personal memoir. What I can tell you briefly is that, at times, the most simple things are unbearably complicated.
The latest example happened last night. He decided after a hiatus from Scouts that it was time to rejoin, to get engaged and pursue the goal of making Eagle Scout. We signed him up, bought the uniform, and went to the annual spaghetti dinner. You would think this an easy place to initially come in — a pleasant, family style dinner around tables at the local church.
It could not have been more of a disaster.
You see, our son is remarkably awkward with kids his own age. He is terrific with adults — pick a subject and he can carry on an hour long conversation on the subject of your choice. He is great with young children — he will get on the floor and play with them or read them a story.
But he simply does not know how to make friends with kids his own age. He knows he is different and his interests are different. No matter how much we try to coach him on how to make and keep friends he remains alone. He does not have a friend to his name.
Last night was a perfect picture of why.
Instead of going to a table filled with other boys of similar ages, he came to sit with us. He simply was not comfortable approaching a table of other kids, sitting with them, making conversation and enjoying the evening.
He talked with the adults at our table and did not understand when I turned to mention quietly that the adults were talking now. “Mom, just because I am short doesn’t mean I can’t have an intelligent conversation.”
This is true. He can have an intelligent conversation. But he simply could not see that his behavior was inappropriate.
Then as the evening wore on, he got up to lumber off and remained gone for 15 – 20 minutes. He was so uncomfortable with the surroundings that he had gone off to the bathroom and stayed away. The awards were taking place and the slide show was happening and he was off by himself because he could not get comfortable to participate as a young teenager.
It was sad beyond words. I felt so grieved for him and wondered how in the world we are to teach him what for most kids comes fairly naturally. I wondered how in the world he will have any normalcy in his life if this is how he deals in social settings.
I was so grieved.
I got up this morning to have my quiet time. Even as I read the Word and prayed there was little comfort.
It wasn’t until later in the morning as I talked with the Lord about last evening that He reminded me of I Corinthians 1: 26-31:
“For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God — and righteousness and sanctification and redemption — that, as it is written ‘He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.’” (New King James)
And I wept to remember. God did not make a mistake when He created my son. It was not lost on the Lord that my son would be awkward and different — often seen by the world as weird or foolish. No, this is not lost on the Father. He sees. He knows. He loves this child. My son is called according to the wise plan and purpose of a loving God. God has plans for him to bring glory to Him.
What a great God we serve. Cling to this with me today.