Last week, as many of you know Marissa was taught the Bible story of Lazarus at VBS. As we were driving home that night, she spontaneously asked me if we could pray for her legs so that she wouldn't fall anymore. She was able to identify that God had preformed a miracle for Lazarus and she also wanted to be healed. I sent a text message to one of my friends, who is very close to Marissa, and she responded back, "Don't you wonder what God has protected her from?". This was a very poignant question and it got me to thinking about my own life and the past decisions that I made starting as a young child. I remember clearly that at the age of 7 my life was turned upside down and I often wonder how Marissa would handle such a major life experience as I did. Fortunately, for her she doesn't have to experience it. But, it left me wondering what memories of her life will she keep with her when she becomes an adult.
While Marissa struggles to literally move through life, she figuratively does not. While she may have melt downs and her own set of stressors, they are different from the ones that each of us endure throughout our lives. Our lives are complicated full of unnecessary drama, disappointments and complexity, full of emotions and feelings that Marissa just can't wrap her brain around. She doesn't understand when someone is being mean to her or when a classmate is trying to get her to do something that she shouldn't do. She doesn't grasp disappointment or understand sadness. But she does understand that people love and adore her. Love is the one emotion that Marissa knows and shows. While she can be testy and stubborn and gets in trouble a lot, she continues to know that she is loved and never doubts it. Her brain is incapable of anything else. What an amazing way to live a life- only knowing and understanding the emotion and feeling of love. I understand that this has its bad points but in a lot of ways Marissa's brain is her own utopia. There's not a day that goes by, that I am not thankful that Marissa "gets" love. Most children with Autism struggle with physical touch and don't express any of their feelings let alone love. So tonight, I feel blessed that Marissa is able to handle physical affection and is able to say, "I love you mommy". Because of this, I know that her future is going to be bright because in a lot of ways she lives a protected life.