Friday, April 23, 2010

God revealed in conversation with daughter's mind

I planned to come home on the evening of Holy Wednesday, March 31, to have a relaxing evening before the big work of Holy Week arrived. My daughters and I walked in to a cold house, only to find a broken glass and a ransacked home. I thought something was wrong with the cold home--I knew what I was facing when I noticed the Wii was gone.

"The Wii is gone," I thought. "We've been broken into," I said under my breath.

At first I thought about being calm. I was mugged while I lived in Washington, DC. I was 25 years old. I called my mommy. Then I alerted my credit card companies. Then I called the police. I was going to be calm this time. Were the thieves still in the house?

My seven year old probably heard my statement. She screamed, "we were robbed!"

I called 911 immediately, hoping to get some help if the thieves were still there. My wife was over 2.5 hours away at work that evening. My parents were still at work. I couldn't leave because I wanted to meet the police. I wasn't sure what to do with the girls. I finally connected with my aunt, she came over with a friend. I called our insurance agent. The police came, asked some questions, searched the house, took some pictures. My parents came and took the girls for the evening.

No one was physically hurt. I thought the thieves took things that I found later. Later I discovered they took things I didn't realize at first. Family heirlooms were stolen. That hurts. They took my nice camera. That hurts. What they stole is not the point of this post. Stuff happens. We all adjust, react and cope in different ways. My wife, the heavy sleeper, who wouldn't wake up if you drove a truck through our bedroom, now wakes up multiple times per night. I feel more lethargic than I have in my entire life. My three year old shows no outward sign of knowledge of this break-in.

The most interesting aspect of this story is where I see God. After my seven year old screamed about what had happened, she grabbed a piece of loose leaf notebook paper and began to draw. I was glad because I didn't need to worry about her while I made phone calls. Within 15 minutes of coming into the house, my daughter drew the cartoon above. I'm still in awe of her craft. She has an Autism Spectrum Disorder. If I ever doubted the literature that ASD people think in pictures, I don't now. I lived her thoughts for that rare moment in time--and now I can better imagine the fears she experiences today. Everyone who walked into our home that evening saw her drawing. Maybe I marvel at the cartoon even more because I had to wait 4 years before I came close to a conversation with her. This cartoon depicts the thief coming into our house and taking the Wii. There are other characters that were not physically present in our house, like a snake and a stuffed lion toy, but I quickly knew what she created. I saw a gift in my daughter, and we connected. God revealed a gift in an anxious and painful situation--a call to me to develop that gift. Maybe she'll be an artist. Maybe I will look for a way for her to be mentored by a cartoonist. I do not know.

Even though this is my most challenging period of writing in the past two years (I'm finding it hard to create in the midst of violation and destruction), I'm taking joy in the creativity of my daughter. I wonder if this post is a turning point for me, but for now, my daughter's creativity is enough.


  1. Very cool.

    It's difficult to find the silver lining in something as scary/maddening as a break-in. Glad you noticed your daughter's drawing. Love the burglar's mask. :)

  2. My daughters have a lot to teach me, although with this one I have to pay attention in a different way. Always being stretched. Thanks for the comment!