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Waiting Room Wisdom

Were my wife and I prepared to raise a child with autism?

Man anxiously waits in a doctor's waiting is reassured by God's comfort.
Credit: Wavebreakmedia Ltd

Autism spectrum disorder. ASD. Did my five-year-old daughter, Jensen, have it? I squirmed in my seat in the doctor’s waiting room. I wasn’t there for medical advice—I was on the job as a pharmaceutical representative, making one of my regular stops. But weeks earlier I’d been in an office just like this one, talking to our pediatrician about my little girl’s delayed development. Today, my mind wasn’t exactly focused on giving away free samples and patient brochures.

“She can’t seem to stay on task,” her pre-school teacher had told my wife, Tena, and me. Jensen’s pediatrician suspected autism and referred us to a specialist for more tests. Tena and I loved our daughter no matter what. But were we ready, as first-time parents, to face the challenges she would have? What made God think we could handle this?

The receptionist called out to a patient. “Ma’am, the doctor is ready to see you.” The woman rose from her seat and tossed a book onto a heap of magazines on the coffee table. The book teetered on the stack, then slid to the floor. I walked to the table and carefully put the book back on the stack.

I went in to make my sales pitch to the doctor. By the time I came out, the waiting room was empty, but that same book had fallen to the floor! I picked it up again, this time, pausing to inspect it more closely. Bryson City Seasons, by Dr. Walt Larimore, a book of spiritual reflections. I opened it up to where someone had inserted a bookmark. My eyes darted to a passage highlighted in yellow, advice from a Native American man:

“In my tribe, we believe the Great Spirit looks at a man and a woman before he gives ‘em their first child. If the man and woman are strong and brave and spiritual, the Great Spirit will give them one of what we call his special children.”

I ended up reading Dr. Larimore’s book cover to cover. When Jensen was diagnosed with ASD, I was ready.  I knew Tena and I would help our little girl thrive with help from another author—the greatest author of all. I couldn’t ignore the message he dropped at my feet, twice.

Dr. Walt Larimore, author of the book that inspired Chase Eyster, had difficulty learning to accept his own child’s differences. Read his story today on our Mysterious Ways Facebook page.

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