Saturday, August 23, 2014

A Dance In The Bubbles

I sat in the last of the day's heat, the sun melting behind the roof top. The week had been long and required more of me than I had to give. I breathed in the toasted air and something to my left caught my attention.

The newly bought bubble machine's engine was roaring on the table, but that's not what begged my attentiveness. Laughter from our daughter and our 4 year old spilled forth, but that's normal, too. It was our oldest son who made me stop in my proverbial tracks and gawk in silent awe. He stood in the eye of the storm of glistening tiny bubbles, arms held straight out and head thrown back toward the whispy-clouded sky. With eyes closed, he spun around and around in a dizzying dance to the rhythm of a song only he could hear.

I physically felt time suspend, felt the air lighten and heard the cicadas chant in time with his steps. The tears pierced my eyes and I knew the fight to withhold them was futile. I let them flow as I smiled at this precious gift God was lavishing on him, on me.

Maybe this sounds like something quite ordinary, and for two of my children it certainly is. They drink in life by overflowing cupfuls and binge on joy the size of mountains.

But our oldest, no--he usually watches from the sidelines, afraid something will go wrong. He might trip if he dances, and the bubble machine will eventually run out of bubbles. His is a world of "we should get some gas, Mom, so we don't run out" and "Did you pay too much for that?" And if you know us, you also know that these characteristics of anxiety and control were woven into his makeup, but they were somehow magnified when our little boy lost everything he knew. Namely his security. He worries himself into vomiting episodes, wakes with bloody noses, and suffers all too consistently with crippling head aches. We have spent the past year trying to remake our lives, trying to soothe the wounds that aren't easily seen.

But his have been the deepest.

Two months ago I decided I could not fix him and I desperately cried out for help. Anything that could help my son become a little boy again! I polled family and friends, even his previous teacher, on who he was before the storm. We all agreed that he walked lighter, smiled more, enjoyed life more. So, I reached out for help and our family took a steep step up a faith mountain. We found a therapist who does something special, something different than simply talking to her clients. Upon researching it, I discovered that it is viewed as hokey to some, but to those on whom it worked, it revolutionized their lives. It's called Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. I won't explain it here, but you're free to google it. (No negative comments on that, please.)

His first EMDR session was last Tuesday, and I felt like a nervous wreck in the waiting room. I couldn't be present for it because it would affect the treatment's outcome. But that boy came out grinning and his therapist told me that he did fantastic, and she had seen a moment of breakthrough with him in the middle of the hour. She said she could physically see his insides unwind like a spring being stretched at its coils.

I hoped that I would see some positive differences, but I wasn't ready to believe it just yet. The days that followed genuinely surprised me as I watched this boy who normally trudged around carrying the weight of obsessive compulsion and anxiety become calm, his face radiant with a smile. He suddenly stopped hovering over his siblings, trying to control their every move in fear that it would somehow affect his environment. He no longer cared if his brother had his Nabi or his favorite airplane; he'd just get something else. No head aches, nosebleeds, no stomach pains. Just like that. Gone.

It wasn't until tonight that I remembered how much he used to dance. His favorite lyrical backdrop was David Crowder's "Church Music" song. He'd put on break dance concerts in the living room as we bent over laugh-aching bellies. He used to sing, "Sing, sing, sing, and make mukis wif the hebens!" Of course, he had grown up considerably over the past few years and learned to pronounce his words more clearly, but he hadn't lost his love for celebrating life through songs.

And tonight I saw that little boy again. As hot tears of pure thanksgiving bathed my cheeks, I whispered, "Thank you" to my God who knows this boy better than I myself know him.

I know there will still be "off" days, and his therapy is not concluded yet. But tonight I'm not worried about tomorrow or Monday morning, or even Wednesday afternoon. I'm reveling in the healing that my God is doing in our son--the healing that only He could orchestrate. And my heart continues to dance in the bubbles.

Peace of Christ to you,