The waiting room at the Children’s hospital was big, open, bright, and cold. Even at 8:30 am, there was bustling- the ins and outs of people, young children hopping about to make the most of the unpredictable wait. The air conditioning polarized the air and I shivered in thought as we sat.
This journey has taken us down the road only nine years. There was a time when we first heard ” autism” and it crippled our thoughts of a promising life. There was time when Goldi spoke in tongues or scripts. There was a time when in order to eat in peace, Goldi needed headphones. Time now for more of the unexpected and mysterious. How long before this gets easier?
My nerves were busy at work. How long the wait? I slid my hand up and down my arms trying to erase the permanent tattoo of goosebumps. I sighed deeply. This was the moment of true exposure.
Goldi giggled at the pestering of her younger brother, then took in all the action around her.
“Goldi” announced a voice from afar, “I am Miss Kelsey and I will be working with you today. ”
Her ID badge spelled out five titles. The tips of her stringy hair brushed her wrinkled collar.
“Right this way!”
Goldi was unsure of what this was all about. Unsure of what the four hours would demand of her. It was test time. Testing all that Goldi knew. Her reading, her math, her IQ, her language, her problem solving, her attention, her memory, …….all about poking and prodding into her mind to see the Goldi she had become at the near age of nine. How long before Goldi shuts down and gives up this exercise?
The thought of it all pinned me to the chair. But Goldi hopped up off and stood tall.
“Do you want to take a snack?” I asked.
“No,” she said assuredly. The double doors closed behind her and I was cued to wait.
Waiting equates itself with wonders and worries. Autism is such a puzzle.. Goldi’s growing up but truth remains – she has autism. It’s evidence is so disheartening at times. With age, I had hoped and still do that she would look “cured”. How long will it take?
The first hour was fresh with people watching action. They helped distract me from my own story. A mother and her daughter had seated themselves close by. Mom sat touching distance from her daughter who was in a wheel chair. The teen looking girl looked vegetable like. She stared cross eyed and distant, with only her breathing to distinct her from a statue. She had a sleeveless shirt and her arms soon broke out in goosebumps as the cold showered her.
I imagined up their journey. There was a time when her mother learned that her daughter would be crippled of the “good life”. There was a time when she had to be trained to feed, bathe, and dress her. There was a time when she had to learn how to read her and know her the way she was– a vegetable. How long til these challenges push her over the edge?
Suddenly, the young girl moaned. It was of medium volume but loud enough to know she had a way to voice her mind Her mom first sat unmoved. She moaned again this time loud enough to let it bounce off the walls. Again and again, she cried out. After such frequencies I began to translate: “How long until we see who we need to see so we can get what we need?
Some of us froze in foolish stares.
Goldi’s brother asked “Why is she screaming?”
“She’s asking the same thing you are asking.” I answered. Brother pondered my words and maybe realized a connection even to someone so far from him.
We tried to ignore the “disturbance” with tic- tac- toe. But my eyes soon wandered over to watch again. Her mother was gently pressing her face against her daughters. She kissed her forehead and whispered sweet nothings that seemed to massage her whole being. Suddenly the girl smiled. Her eyes no longer cross eyed but sparkled. She seemed to sit taller. There was peace and she was transformed.
I sat in warmth that took over shivers and worries. In my wait, I saw the hands and feet of the One who loves us. The One who waits for us daily. The One who waits to transform us if we only cry out to Him. At once I knew, that my wait was not, nor never will be in vain.
English Standard Version (ESV)
How Long, O Lord?
To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.
How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I take counsel in my soul
and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
Consider and answer me, O Lord my God;
light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,
But I have trusted in your steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
because he has dealt bountifully with me.