My husband and I took separate cars to our beautiful vacation spot in northern Michigan. He took our son and a friend, while I took two of our daughters.
Bad decision on my part. It was a car ride from hell.
My oldest daughter Grace has autism and really hates any change. The older she gets, the worse it is. She used to go on vacations with us, more or less happily. But in recent years she has become increasingly resistant to even the most perfect getaways. Sometimes we just let her stay home with a college student who is loosely supervising.
But this year our rental had four bedrooms, so we thought she should come. She could have her own personal space and a little sunshine in the afternoons.
But she was not pleased.
Weeks before our holiday she began announcing that she would NOT be joining us. We tried all our usual strategies, but they all ended somewhere like, “You’re coming, and that’s final.”
And as if it’s not hard enough to just get out the door for vacation with clothes, food, sunscreen, and beach chairs, Grace had disappeared the morning of our departure. She was hiding. It was her Last Stand.
She had already refused to pack (I packed for her when she wasn’t looking,) refused to bring her favorite things, and threatened to go on a hunger strike. Which is no vain threat from Grace. She’s done it before.
I found her in the unfinished part of our basement among storage boxes with the lights out. “How did you find me?” she asked.
We pulled out of the driveway an hour and a half behind my husband, and the tirade began. She literally complained, grumbled, moaned, and argued for the next six hours.
This always sets off a chain of events that goes something like this. Grace whines. I comfort her. She says no one cares about her. I assure her. She moans. I ignore. She moans loudly. I turn the music on. My youngest daughter tries to comfort her. She shouts “Shut up!” Then my youngest daughter tells her she’s mean. Then I tell everyone to “Be quiet!” more sternly than I like to admit.
So I’m in a car driving to a most lovely destination, with some sweet Christian music wafting through the speakers, and there’s not a moment of peace. It feels like such a disconnect.
And this just seems like the perfect metaphor of my Christian life.
Outside, somewhere sort of far away, a beautiful Christian life exists. But here in the car, there is a kind of turmoil and despair that is drowning out the promise of that sweet communion. I wonder, what’s wrong with me? Why isn’t this Christian life working? Where is God in this?
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