And when Enoch had heard these words, he bowed himself to the earth, before the Lord, and spake before the Lord, saying: Why is it that I have found favor in thy sight, and am but a lad, and all the people hate me; for I am slow of speech; wherefore am I thy servant? (Moses 6:31, The Pearl of Great Price)
I am struggling. Summing up from previous posts:
- Chronic pain. My doctors surmise that scar tissue is triggering joint and nerve pain. Otherwise, they don’t know what’s wrong. My back surgery almost 4 years ago was successful, and a surgeon informed me nothing more can be done surgically right now. But yet I hurt, and more so with violent weather of late.
- As I fight to help my son and his challenges with autism, I am reminded that most likely, I am on the autism spectrum too. Some speak of “the little professor syndrome” in regards to Asperger’s syndrome (which is part of the high-functioning end of that spectrum). It is painful, for “the little professor” one was my mother’s epithets for me.
- My parents have their own health problems, but they are now faced with end-of-life decisions for my maternal grandparents. Grandpa is stubborn, but caring for Grandma (who is dealing with Alzheimer’s and dementia) is getting harder and harder for him.
- I have counseled with my father numerous times for advice. He takes me to physiotherapy (as I once did for him) because I struggle to get out of the house.
- I have heard whisperings of the Call to Adventure almost all my life. I shrink from elaborating too much, lest I be mercilessly mocked.
And now, other challenges that I have not spoken of:
- My son may have additional problems with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). I am reluctant to pursue stimulant medication again. My wife and daughter deal with ADD (note the lack of H; there is no hyperactivity for them, just difficulty focusing), but they both started medicine at later ages. Cimmorene is wary of psychiatric medicine generally.
- I have struggled to understand my place in my church community. Once, my challenges were enough to shake me a bit from my conviction, but through my experiences, I worked hard to re-secure full fellowship in my church. Over and over, I learned that putting myself out there in that community and serving is the key to fulfillment. And yet, I still struggle with this concept. I am in a congregation where NO ONE my age is on disability. It is hardest within the group of men my age.
- I believe in the power of ministry; it was part of my pathway back and it remains a part of my understanding of fellowship. When my own fellowship and membership status was fully reinstated, I asked after a family I remembered from home teaching with my father. The family became one of my home teaching assignments. However, the current leader of my men’s group, and someone whom I must report to, is unwilling to introduce himself to them.
- I went up the chain of command, as it were. The bishop (read: pastor) assured me he would take care of it, as this leader has a textbook duty to the father of my assigned family– as he is a member of that group. Two Sundays ago, stake conference was called, and with that, my bishop said, always comes a leadership training for all local male leaders. He said he would be able to address my concerns in a way that was appropriate and gentle to my immediate leader.
- I was in pain last Sunday, but some of my plans paid off: our missionaries now are not only engaged in searching for investigators, but also to reactivate existing membership. Cimmorene said the mother and the eldest daughter of my family (and they two are also her ministry assignment) had attended the main worship service. They had told her that the local missionaries were responsible (so they DID follow up on my request!) but I relaxed a little when they said the daughter’s boyfriend was investigating our church. (I avoid confrontation and never wish to be seen as pushy.)
I still have a difficult time– I still wonder what my place in my ward (congregation) is. I… don’t want to be special. I want at least one other disabled SAHD in my ward that I can relate to. I discussed this again with my father the other day (Monday?) and he said my ward needs me. He said that they needed someone with a unique situation and perspective such as mine.
Perhaps you remember my Superman posts. Perhaps you know that the main actor in many of them, Christopher Reeve, became paraplegic after an accident. The fanbase looked up to him even more as he still put himself out there, and talked about his situation bravely, often explaining what he still could do. Many noted that his wife struggled with her own health– mercifully, it was not long after his passing that she too joined him in death. But it seems their example endures.
I don’t know why I am in pain like this. I am grateful for a few friends and family that can relate. I can only hope to become more like my Master. I am struggling to understand these visions, these awakenings, these portents that tell me I must be part of a grander purpose, and that there is so much more than the world I now experience. I am different; it seems there was no end to much of my world telling me that I was different. And yet, I must put myself out there. I must serve them, at least, starting with my ward congregation. I must become one with them; indeed, this must be the path of fellowship, and discipleship. For thus was the desire of my Master:
Till all are one
That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be cone in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. (John 17:21)