Sunday, January 12, 2014


“Eventually all things fall into place. Until then, laugh at the confusion, live for the moments, and know everything happens for a reason.” ~ Albert Schweitzer

Last week, on New Year’s Day, Alex asked me to take his temperature. Since he hadn’t shown any symptoms of illness, his request surprised me. However, he frequently asks me to use our home electronic blood pressure cuff to take his “vitals,” which is his favorite part of any visit to the doctor when they check his blood pressure and pulse. His interest in his vitals probably comes from his fascination with medicine and numbers. At the time, I thought perhaps he was just interested in his current medical statistics. What surprised me more was that he was indeed running a slight fever. Amazingly in tune with his own body, Alex probably knew he was running a fever before I ever took his temperature. Over the next few days, he continued to run a low-grade fever for no clear reason. Last Saturday, before the big snowstorm, we took him to the Minute Clinic to make sure there was nothing seriously wrong with him in case we were snowbound for a few days.

After checking all his vitals and examining Alex, the nurse practitioner ruled out ear infection, sinus infection, and flu. His lungs were clear, his abdomen was normal, and his glands were not swollen. Since he wasn’t cooperative about opening his mouth wide and saying, “Ahhh,” she could not rule out strep throat. However, he hadn’t complained of a very sore throat, so I thought a throat infection was unlikely anyway. While we were glad to rule out certain illnesses, we still weren’t positive why he was running a slight fever, but I suspected he either had a virus and/or was showing signs of yeast die-off because we had recently changed his anti-fungal medication. When medications for yeast are working too well, symptoms similar to flu—fever, nausea, achiness, etc.—can arise, and we had seen similar die-off reactions in the past. Nonetheless, every day several times a day, I took Alex’s temperature last week and hoped that his fever would return to normal.

Each day as I waited with anticipation that his fever would return to normal, I knew that eventually, his fever would subside. On Wednesday, exactly a week after he had first asked me to take his temperature, the digital thermometer finally registered a normal temperature for him. This past week has made me think about the power of eventually, something that has taken me over a half-century to understand. As someone who likes to plan and schedule, the uncertainties of life, such as when fevers will return to normal, make me anxious. As long as I know when things will happen, I roll along nicely, but life offers too many situations that require patience, and more importantly they require faith. Yesterday, Joel Osteen Ministries posted a quote on Facebook that really hit home for me: “God doesn’t ask you to figure it all out; He only asks you to believe.” As I told my sister-in-law yesterday, I’m sure that God probably gets tired of my “helpful” suggestions.

In raising a child with autism, I have found that most of life is waiting: waiting for developmental milestones, waiting for appointments with professionals, waiting for annoying stages to pass, and waiting to see what the future holds. While all parents must deal with these times of waiting, having a child with autism often requires more waiting than usual. Although I’m constantly trying to put together all the pieces to help Alex, I’ve found that the most important thing I can do is just believe that everything happens for a reason, and eventually everything will work out in the end. When I’m frustrated because things aren’t happening on my timetable, I look back on Alex’s accomplishments, some of which I thought would never occur. However, eventually, he learned to speak. Eventually, he learned to use the toilet independently. Eventually, he slept through the night. Eventually, he became less sensitive to sensory stimulation. Along with all these major milestones, I can see smaller steps that eventually came, as well.

Nonetheless, we continue to look toward the future and wonder what eventually lies in store for Alex. Will he eventually learn to tie his shoes? Will he eventually have a job he likes? Will he eventually live independently? Will he eventually be healed? As much as I’d like to micromanage his life, I have to take a breath when the fears of the unknown overwhelm me and just believe. Interestingly, Alex never worries about such things. In fact, he often tells us, “Wait and see.” Like his favorite animal, the turtle, Alex just keeps moving through life at his own pace, knowing that like the tortoise in Aesop’s fable, “Slow and steady wins the race.” Rarely does he get discouraged, and he sets a good example of how we should approach life—with faith and patience and without fear. Eventually, I will stop trying to figure out all of life’s mysteries and learn to live in the moment, as Alex does. Eventually.

“For all that is secret will eventually be brought into the open, and everything that is concealed will be brought to light and made known to all.” Luke 8:17

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