Saturday, January 21, 2012

Not So Academic Philosophy

We had big news in our house yesterday.  I mean BIG news.

Since birth, we were just positive that Caedmon was completely paralyzed below both his knees.  He has never wiggled his toes, never pointed his feet, never shaken his feet, never had movement at all.  It made reading stories about baby toes and watching other, 'regular' babies playing with their feet rather painful.  I got pretty adept at avoiding any library books that mentioned feet.

Everyday we stretch Caedmon's feet.  It takes about a half an hour and a good video to distract a very active three year old.  Sometimes, during his stretches, I noticed that the muscles in his left foot would jump a bit, like he was working them somehow, but I shrugged it off figuring it was just a spasm of some kind.

Yesterday, Adam took off his braces to give his feet a break and was lotioning them, another important thing we do everyday.  All of a sudden, Caedmon started to move his left foot up and down!  Adam couldn't believe it.  "Do it again, Caedmon!" he said.  So, Caedmon looked down at his foot and did it again.

Later on in the morning, I was doing his stretches.  "Caedmon, can you move your foot like you did for Daddy?" I asked.  He looked at it again, like he was really concentrating, and there it was, the foot moving back and forth!

It was awesome!

We had been warned that he may have good days and bad days.  Days when his nerves are more connected, work better and he'll be able to do more, and days when things just don't seem to click.  We are fully aware of this.

However, when you have a child who struggles with anything, school work, fears, nightmares, psychological disabilities, physical disabilities, you pray constantly that they would find a way through.  You pray that their minds or their bodies would start to operate as God originally designed them to.  You pray that they would be able to take this difficulty and turn it into some awesome strength that would not only change their world but the world all around them.

So, Caedmon moved his foot.  This, to me, is a miracle.  For three years he has not had any movement and now there is movement.  For three years I have been putting him to bed every night with the prayer that God would please bless his body and help it to work in the best way possible.  That He would touch my son and help his body to work as God planned it to work when He first thought of Caedmon.

My problem with this is, of course, the hundreds of others with spina bifida who I have met since this journey began three years ago.  Some of them are much better off than Caedmon.  They walk without issues, they are able to use the bathroom, they appear as 'regular' kids.  Some of them are much worse off than Caedmon.  They are lying in the hospital as I type this fighting for their lives with parents in so much pain, not able to do anything but pray and hope their child will get to come home.  How do I tell this latter group that God answered my prayer for my son but not their prayer for theirs?  Even if it's just a partial answer, what about those who seem not to get an answer or get a negative answer?

I have no easy answer to this.  I am not a great philosopher.  I struggle almost daily with the questions this issue brings up.  I am skiddish of those who say they have it all figured out because it is so huge and so complex and, just when you think you have the answers, you meet another person who doesn't fit into the solution and have to start again.

So, not answering any of the questions I find so difficult, I have come to see that my philosophy of parenting a child with special needs is that I believe in a God of love.  I believe that my son was not created to be disabled but, because of this world of sin and pain that we live in, he was born with a disability.  I believe that God's ultimate purpose for us on this earth is to make us holy so that He gets to spend an eternity pouring out His love on us.  That means that His goal for me and my children and everyone is not to make us HAPPY but to make us HOLY.  That means that He gently guides us and teaches us and sometimes He leads us through some pretty tough crap to ultimately bring us to Himself.  I believe that God looks at Caedmon, and every other person in this world, and sees all the potential wrapped up in his amazing body and mind.  I believe that God whispers to Caedmon everyday, 'ALL things work together for good, for those who love Me and are called according to My purpose.  I have called you, Caedmon.  I love you!'  I believe that Caedmon will have a full and fullfilling life, not because of what his body can't do but because of what he can do when he sees his own potential.  I believe Caedmon will reach many people because he responds to the call.  I believe that there will be a day when my son's body will be made perfectly whole and I will see him running and jumping and flying.  And I believe that the most important thing about that moment will be knowing he gets to be that way not just for a few short years on this earth but forever.

So, Caedmon moved his foot.  That's pretty darn awesome.  More awesome than that is every time he sings his own little song about the love of God, and every time he looks at me and goes on to do something I didn't even know he could.  He's going to go far, that little guy.