As the waves come crashing into the beach, the beach changes and takes on a new look. As the sun, wind, rain, sleet, hail and snow hit the mountains, rocks and ground, they transform the earth, slowly, but definitely. These past few years, Mother Nature has delivered some storms, which have not only eroded the beaches, but caused devastating damage. A few years after these events, we see a community regain its form. The community seems to take on a whole new beauty. Not referring to the physical attributes of new buildings, instead, a new beauty in the people. They have spent relentless hours rebuilding, working together and offering encouragement, hope and love to each other. The devastation has changed them forever. The destruction has become an opportunity to get back to what’s really important. It’s no longer about the “me” concept and the “what I am going to get out of something” attitude. It’s about the whole community. It’s about a whole community achieving something beautiful together.
There is a dancer, this season, in the Dancing with the Stars competition, who was part of the re-building process, the hope, after the Haiti disaster a few years ago. She explains the devastation and how hard it was, yet beauty evolved. As you watch the people from Japan endure the struggle from the recent devastation, there is a sense of grace; there is already beauty present. I am taken back, a step, or many. I am humbled. I wonder if God and Mother Nature are working together to provide a valuable lesson? A good message? I believe through all the devastation, God provides a message, of good, not harm. A message that brings us back to love. Our foundation, our strength.... love.
Recently, I was so exhausted. I am not sure if this is an illness, but it felt like one. It makes me wonder, when we allow ourselves to internalize all the challenges in our lives, are we causing internal erosion? What do we have to offer, if we allow this to occur? I know personally, it’s usually not just one thing that is happening before I find myself overwhelmed. We all have different challenges and some may be more difficult than others. It’s what we do with the challenges we face that makes all the difference. Personally, when I allow the stress and frustration to build and become the primary focus of my day, it isn’t pretty. I will admit, there isn’t much grace within this approach either. The storms come and go, but if we panic every time one approaches, we may find ourselves lost in the woods, when we live by a beach or wandering the beach, when we live in the woods. I have to make a conscious decision to get myself in gear. It takes guts to get out of ruts!! Rut – be gone, go away, you had your chance, but you lost this one.
The past three years have been especially difficult for me. We are up against different challenges, than typical families face. You may be facing the “terrible two’s”, we skipped those (I giggle to myself, like I won something, on this point). We have an enormous amount of time spent on education planning, whereas, your kiddos may follow a regular curriculum. Our ongoing medical, therapeutic and special diet needs are super high, yours might not be. When I look back over the last few years, what got me through? Well, that’s easy… YOU!!! You provided an umbrella for the rain, boots for the snow and shelter for my heart. It is you who gave me hope. You gave me strength for myself and to share with others.
My future is not entirely clear, but I know, I want to do good things, not for “me”, but for others. I want to make a difference. First, my website needs some attention. Then, I would like to start working towards creating a foundation or non-profit. I would like to be a part of a “re-build”, to offer families, who have children with Autism, hope and resources. I haven’t figured out all of the details, but this I know…. My storms have brought me to a new understanding of what is really important. It’s not me, it’s not Alyssa, it’s not you… It’s ALL of us. I will be working to make a place for all of us to come together to make a difference. Whether you know someone with a child who has Autism or not, that’s okay. There are no prerequisites to be a part of building hope, offering love and doing something good.
I choose goodness to conquer difficulty, love to conquer devastation and hope to beat the pants off fear! I have everything to be thankful for. Especially for you, my friends and family, for not allowing me to stay in my ruts too long, for being in my life and showing me the beauty that evolves from the storms we encounter.
Thank you for reading and have a great week!! Angie