Some years it hits me. Some years it does not.
On December 26th. Or even sometimes RIGHT after the Christmas morning of fun and frenzy and children’s delights are all over.
Even though I don’t believe in Santa Clause or any Christmas magic per se, I have realized my adult self still has this longing and expectation at Christmastime. That somehow a special fulfillment will arrive on December 25th. And then the day comes and goes and poof, it doesn’t happen.
Wishes not granted.
Dreams dashed into despair.
This is the reality for many, at any time of the year.
This reminds me of a time my husband, Chris, had an opportunity to share at church. The theme was surrounding suffering and desires unfulfilled. He did an eloquent job, (if I do say so myself), and its so worth passing on right now.
Here is an excerpt:
Doesn’t it seem the bigger the shattered expectation or the greater the desire that isn’t satisfied, the greater our unhappiness, pain, and suffering? It was painful to learn that our son, Ryan, has Prader-Willi syndrome, and it shattered our desires for a son who would naturally develop friendships, graduate from college, get married, have children, and grow up to live an independent life.
The most unique characteristic of persons with PWS is that they have an insatiable appetite–actually they never feel full; hunger is never satisfied. Eventually persons with PWS become very food-seeking and develop an extreme food obsession. Although Ryan does not sneak or steal food, one of his biggest anxieties arises around his eating schedule. He needs constant reassurance every day that he will get his breakfast-snack-lunch-snack-dinner without fail. Cutting off a meal or snack-time for Ryan is like cutting off his oxygen.
C.S. Lewis has an intriguing quote in Mere Christianity:
“If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another wold.”
In light of all our struggles with Ryan, and losses in our family, that quote is challenging to me for a few reasons.
The first part of that quote is hard, because I often wonder why do we live in a world where some of my deepest desires are not satisfied? Does God bear any responsibility? If not directly, can’t He heal and fix things here and now? After all, aren’t all things possible through Him? I haven’t discovered all the answers to those questions, but in the midst of daily heartache of life with a child with special needs, God does show up sometimes and I had one of those moments recently.
I was spending some time is prayer one early Saturday morning. Ryan walked in the room after just waking up. He asked what I was doing and I told him that I was praying and listening to God. He came and sat on my lap. I asked him if he wanted to listen to God, too. I told him that if you sit quietly, God will speak to you in your mind. He said ok, and put his head down on my shoulder and we sat still. Together.
After a few minutes, I asked, “Did God say anything to you?”
Ryan said, “Yes.”
I asked him what he said.
Ryan responded, “God told me I’m a great boy and He likes me.”
I said, “That’s great. Did God tell you anything else?”
He paused for a moment and answered, “Moses makes great dinners in Heaven.”
I responded, “Yes, Ryan, Moses makes great dinners in Heaven.”
God didn’t just speak to Ryan at that moment; he also spoke to me. God cares enough about Ryan in a personal way to reassure him that his hunger will be satisfied in Heaven. There’s nothing more I’d want for Ryan than for him to truly believe that God loves him, and despite his challenges, to understand that God can satisfy the deepest longings of his heart.
I may never know why we, or Ryan, have to endure such trials and challenges, but its a great joy to know that Heaven is a place Ryan can look forward to and long for. Where our deepest desires and longings will be fulfilled. Forever.