Flying Near the Sun as a Special Needs Parent
Flying near the sun as special needs parents? What is guest blogger Lisa Pelissier talking about? In this post, she brings in a little C.S. Lewis, a little Greek mythology, and a little of her own fiction to explain how she deals with a phenomenon that is all too common for parents raising kids with disabilities and special needs.
“Still the thermometer rose. The walls of the ship were too hot to touch. It was obvious that a crisis was approaching. In the next few hours it must kill them or get less.
It got less.”
From Out of the Silent Planet by C. S. Lewis
The passage from C. S. Lewis’ Out of the Silent Planet resonates with me as a special needs mom. Although the main character Ransom’s voyage through space was way outside the boundaries of my experience, I repeatedly live through the same kind of stress. Things happen. Then more things. And more things. I’m putting out fires left and right until I stop caring whether I burn up or not. Like Ransom and the others, I am flying near the sun as a special needs parent in a desperate attempt to journey successfully through this life.
As special needs parents, this is our story much of the time. There are too many things to deal with, too many problems to field, too many medical appointments, too much medicine to track, too much angst to soothe, too much sorrow to mop up with our already soggy souls. It’s easy to become overwhelmed, frustrated, and hopeless.
How do I, to mix my metaphors, keep my wings from melting in the sun? How do you emerge from the trials and still have something left to give? Here are some things that help me.
- I know this world is not my home. The eighty-three years I plan to spend here in this life (don’t laugh—I’m a planner) are just a speck of dust compared to the eternity of the next world. With that perspective, the trials of this world look more trivial and less all-encompassing. Romans 8:18 says, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” Good things are yet to come.
- I count my blessings. There are many. I have a lot for which to be thankful. My trials and burdens are great, but looking back over the course of my life, I can see God’s hand faithfully leading me through the darkest places, especially during those times I felt farthest from Him. It helps me remember that though I may not experience the felt presence of God now, He is with me and providing for me.
- I work to see what magnificent miracles my children are. They are all delicious human beings. I like being with them. They make me laugh. They are smart and funny. I like the dark, dry humor of my youngest, even if it is born out of depression and anxiety. There’s more to them than what the world might tot up on a checklist of “ways to know your children turned out okay.”
- I take breaks and escape to another world. This will look different for everyone, but for me, I write fiction. I leave this world altogether and immerse myself in the trials of the characters who inhabit Gannoir, the inverted star where my angsty characters fight for what is right (and sometimes go off the rails). They’re so real to me now that I feel like I know them, and despite their difficulties being 100 percent my fault, I don’t have to feel guilty. Not everyone will find pleasure in torturing fictional characters, but escaping is vital when stress levels get too high.
- I lean on my friends. I have a few who are in the trenches with me, and a good number more who don’t completely understand, but who are always ready to sympathize and offer a listening ear and a helping hand.
I hope that these strategies and my journey are a blessing to you. If you have other methods for coping when you’re flying near the sun as a special needs parent, please post in the comments.
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Image by Dimitris Vetsikas from Pixabay
By Lisa Pelissier
Lisa Pelissier lives in Oregon where she is a homeschooling mother of four (three with disabilities) and author of four middle-grade fiction novels as well as a YA fantasy novel. Lisa owns SneakerBlossom Books, offering Christian, classical homeschool Study Guides and curriculum. She blogs at Eleventh Willow, offering encouragement for Christians parenting the mentally ill. She also works as a freelance copy editor, an artist, and a substitute teacher. In her spare time Lisa enjoys playing the piano and fretting about things over which she has no control.
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