Rain drops are knocking on the window. Fall came so fast this year! A few weeks ago we were at the beach with Vince. We held a swimming competition in the pool, played cards at the food stand; we ate fried fish, lángos and ice cream. Just like any other family. Then as we walked along the shore, a three-year-old little girl looked at Vince and said “poor thing” half aloud, sort of to herself. Then when she saw that no one was paying attention to her, she went looking for her dad and as she ran to him, she kept shouting louder and louder “poor thing,” poor thing,” poor thing!” As if she was saying ‘see dad, I have noticed and I share all the burdens of being handicapped!’ Then her dad turned around, saw who her little girl was pointing at, and at that very moment he picked her up, pressed her finger down and walked away speedily in order to end the unpleasant situation.
I looked at Vince and I saw that he didn’t understand what had just happened. I told him “my dear one, you are not a poor thing! As a matter of fact, you are rich, because your mom and dad love you a great deal, and the greatest wealth in the world is when God orders loving and tenacious parents to a person!”
“Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:11-12
Have you noticed that when your heart is not prepared for battle in the morning, the events of the day can easily have you off balance? I could have been angry at this dad, or I could have fallen into the deep pit of self-pity, but that day my heart was ready. I knew that this was only another scheme of attack the devil had come up with, because despite our difficulties we were having very much of an average and normal family experience at the beach. Of course it was an unpleasant feeling, because God has given feelings plentifully. But He didn’t give them to cause us peril but to move us in the direction of His gracious and merciful heart. He gave them so we could give these difficult situations to Jesus, and in return He could save us every single day, in every single difficult moment.
“Call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.” Psalms 50:15
The summer was filled with these kinds of troublesome situations, because Vince’s new hobby is the traveling board game. We collected entrance and travel tickets wherever we went, so we could add color to our home game. We went bobsledding, on train rides, took the chair-lift in Zugliget, went on a boat ride on the Danube, and with the tickets the experiences racked up as well.
I remember when we went bobsledding the devil was so unable to do anything with us, that he was not representing himself in any shape or form. I saw that people acted completely naturally around us, they helped and they joked with us. I felt like I had arrived home. Just like when I step into my parents’ house, I feel that I don’t have to explain anything, they know everything about me. I don’t have to act responsibly, I can rest and become a child again, I accept what I am offered and I don’t ask, because everything is perfect the way it is! God loves us the same way, it’s us who don’t always let it become evident. We hold the reins too tight. We know better than anyone what’s good for us, what we deserve, and especially the fact that we can take care of everything.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.” Proverbs 3:5-8
The summer of a handicapped child is filled with challenges for both the child and the parents. During the summer we are on a more difficult track; we get feedback more frequently, as if we had selected a more advanced level in a video game. We are out of our routine and acceping environment, and all the world’s trouble comes at us intensly, because no matter where we go, we are always the odd ones out. This is why it matters what kind of weaponry we choose when we go to battle. It’s not worth heading out with a weak heart.
“Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly. A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” Proverbs 14:29-30.
I don’t know how I would react to a reversed situation, if Vince was running around and that little girl was the one in the wheelchair. I would probably also shuffle off in one way or the other. But now it is my son who sits in the wheelchair, I would only have one request: Dear Dad, please don’t run away the next time! Let’s allow our kids to have answers! Let them get to know each other as two free and lighthearted children! Thank you for taking a deep breath next time and coming to talk to us. Believe me, I also have to take a deep breath before I leave our house and go into battle.
“Dear Lord! I’m so thankful for the deep breaths and for keeping my heart in training!”