Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Walking with Devan: An Unexpected Journey

As we hopefully come to the end of one of the most difficult couple of months that we've ever had with Devan, I find myself exhausted, bewildered and struggling to make sense of it all.  I beg God for answers and bury my head in my hands as the answer is the same as it's always been.  KEEP GOING FORWARD. 

When I come to these points in our journey, I regularly revisit a poem that we came across shortly after Devan's diagnosis of autism.  Yes, our journey looks different than many, but it doesn't mean it's not beautiful, exciting and exactly how God planned it to be.  KEEP GOING FORWARD we will and slowly unwrap the magnificent gift that God blessed us with almost 8 years ago.

The poem is called WELCOME TO HOLLAND.  I hope you enjoy it.

Welcome to Holland
Emily Perl Kingsley.
c1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved
I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......
When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.
After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."
"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."
But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.
The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.
So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.
It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.
But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."
And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.
But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Aaron, it's nice to see you back with this lovely reminder that God in his wisdom and love for us shows us the way if we are open to His will. Seeing that precious little boy so happy with his Dad on the tractor makes me feel God knew what he was doing when he sent you Devan. The essay is a powerful lesson for all of us. No doubt you and your wife have suffered through trials on your journey but the faith and trust you share are beautiful. Blessings to you and your family. Keep writing :-)