My daughter, Jessie, is scared of fireworks.
Actually, the truer statement is my daughter Jessie is petrified of noise.
All soothing techniques never worked with Jessie when she was small. Whether it was me, my husband, or my mom who was holding her close the first boom and her eyes would change. Terror filled. Then attempted flight.
Our family was celebrating the kick-off of the AYSO Region 8 soccer league at the Homestead Speedway park. The teams were lined up around the baseball fields with the soccer grass a short distance away. After a high school student sang the national anthem and the mayor said a few words it was time for the teams to parade around the bases being introduced to the cheering crowds filled with parents, grandparents and siblings. Each squad scurrying behind their coach carrying homemade team banners in their 4, 5, 6 year old fingers. Amazed that all the clapping, cheering and celebration appeared to be just for them. Beaming into the crowd like Olympians basking in glory.
Unexpectedly, as the last team crossed home plate and the kids were dispersing to their parents, the stadium lights went out. Darkness descended. I thought it was a mistake. Then across the loud speaker the announcement to grab a spot, sit back and enjoy the firework celebration kicking off a brand new year of play. We picked a spot on the grass; sat down. It’s not easy or fast for me to get down anymore with this leg. Just as my butt hit the grass with Jessie and Scotty right beside me the first boom sounded. Jessie looked at me with those big, terror filled eyes and took off sprinting into the dark. I started yelling for my husband and stood up as fast as I could. I started to run towards Jessie and told Scotty to stay there, but running is not my strong suit with a right leg that can’t bend. I was hobbling after her and yelling to Jacques who was halfway back from the car. When the next fireworks lit the night sky we could see her running in a panic about 100 yards away already. Jacques took off in her same direction. The darkness surrounded again. She was running her little 6 year old heart out petrified with nowhere to go but into the blackness until the next boom rang through the sky. It was heartbreaking to see her and know her panic as each boom came and then surrounding darkness.
Another mom on the sidelines saw what was happening and intercepted Jessie. She held her until Jacques could get there. We comforted her and calmed her petrified heart. Poor thing. We believed it was just the fright of the fireworks.
That year in the 1st grade Jessie participated in a hearing test at school. She was diagnosed with a type of highly sensitive hearing. We took her for additional testing. The doctor described for how this condition also explained why she had some difficulty with certain sounds and her speech. This clarity helped identify that it’s not just fireworks and not just a child’s irrational fear. How Jessie hears specific volume and/or types of sounds is different than how maybe we do. The intensity magnified for her. In a child that is terrifying. Noise was Jessie’s enemy in her mind.
Now that Jessie is older it is much simpler. As she likes to say, she’s a “tween” now and with age comes a different comprehension. She is not filled with the sheer terror. Sometimes she decides she doesn’t want to deal with the situation and keeps herself out of a noise filled environment. Other times when she doesn’t want to miss the event like 4th of July, she knows to stay close to someone she trusts, put some earplugs in and be ready for the blast. Her favorite way to watch the fireworks is like we did on vacation last year on the beach with one of her favorite people, our close friend Bill Jones, covering her ears with his big, safe, hands. Firm in his love for her and her safety. She trusts Mr. Bill so all is right with the world even when the loud noises surround her.
You see, my husband, my mom, my Dad and I had every best intention of helping Jessie with all of these things. We were right next to her calming her fears using all the tried and true methods that either worked on us or other children we knew or loved. We thought we had the best solution for Jessie and we had every good intention. The reality is that we didn’t know enough. We didn’t know about her hearing sensitivity, until then we did.
Comfort for Jessie is spelled differently. She was too small to understand and verbalize for herself what was happening inside her.
My daughter had to rely on our fallible remedies because we weren’t completely aware of the entirety of her situation. We were inadequate in our ignorance. Even though we love her, even though we’d sacrifice ourselves to save her from harm, even with every great intention we still failed to meet her exact needs. We just couldn’t know how to do that, until we knew more.
How fortunate are we as Christians?
2 Samuel 22:31
“As for God, his way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him.
As humans we surround ourselves with family, friends, coworkers, strangers and we look to them to provide advice, give insight, validate our own ideas. The “self-help” industry is a billion dollar windfall because, if humans have just one thing in common, it’s that we’re all searching for answers. We want someone to tell us how to do better, how to feel better, what to do.
Someone tell us how to fix:
- someone else,
We have every good intention, yet we remain with gaps in our lives. Gaps of pain, sorrow, loneliness, insecurity, pride, prejudice, dissatisfaction – pitfalls of self-defeat. We fall back to these fixes by habit.
- That temporary fix.
- That fallible solution.
- That human generated plan.
We serve an omniscient God. And, we’re surprised when we leave Him out of the equation and our best friend’s advice doesn’t work this time. She always knew what to do to make me feel better before. When we feel worse instead of better after asking our cousin for an idea on how to fill in the blank we are confused. What happened? What are we going to do?
We call everyone we know to tell them about our problem. We check out the horoscope. Anything we can think of to get a hint. A glimpse. We rack our brains for a solution, and we have an all knowing God who loves us and who is the answer.
Think about it this week. Be honest with yourself.
Where are you getting your answers?
Are you checking with the Source?
If you’re not making a habit of prayer, Small Group fellowship and counsel, church, Bible reading, devotions you’re missing out on something good. For you.
At Christ Fellowship, (www.cfmiami.org), this weekend Pastor Lopez put up this quote:
“One of the great uses of Twitter and Facebook will be to prove at the last day that prayerlessness was not from lack of time.”
Where are you devoting your time and who are you listening to today? No matter how fantastic and loving the intentions are if you’re not making time for the Source, you’re going to be devoting way too much time on fallible, temporary solutions.
Where are you looking for God this week. If you’re not looking towards Him, you’re looking in the wrong direction. Find your best way to see God today. Don’t wait. Your problems don’t wait on you. Get ahead of them today.
You’ll be grateful you did tomorrow.