Have you ever struggled with a problem for years and years? Doubted and worried and despaired about something for a long time?

I have. For many years, Blue Eyes and I have struggled over the issue of who would look after Joseph if our demise should come unexpectedly early. Our solution — not dying — is a good one, but not, ahem, entirely under our control.

Asking someone to take on a child with autism is tough. When it came to naming a guardian for Joseph, Blue Eyes and I felt that we would be placing a heavy burden on whoever we asked.

This wasn’t the case with my friend, Maya. She called her brother to ask if she could name him as her (neurotypical) son’s guardian. He replied that he’d love that. But the bad news, he continued, was that he was going to have to kill her so that he could be sure to have the kid.

Sweet, huh? We didn’t get quite the same response when we asked some relatives to be Joseph’s guardian. We got a no — and I understand. Perhaps, were the roles reversed, I would be the one saying that.

Who takes on an autistic kid voluntarily? I wouldn’t have done it in a sane, rational mind-set. On the soul level I obviously chose it, but most of us folks with skin on operate rationally.

It’s just different living with autism. Your kid needs you a lot more than the typical kid. You don’t get the same opportunities you might otherwise get. It’s restricting. While it has its own rewards, it doesn’t give one the satisfaction one has with a typical child. It’s draining. It’s exhausting. And you don’t know if it will end with their adulthood. You don’t know if it will ever end.

What are we supposed to do — ask someone we love to take on this eternal intensity? As I said, this question has had its tentacles running through our lives for many years.

I have a friend who runs several adoption agencies. She says there are, indeed, families who open their arms to special needs children. They welcome them — they want them. These people have a calling I don’t have. They must be saints. It’s good to know that these people are out there.

For some years, that was our plan: if we were to die while Joseph was a minor, he would go to one of these families. It was sad to think of turning him over to someone he didn’t even know, but it was the best solution we could come up with. But then we had to ask, what about when he was an adult? What if he couldn’t be independent? Ugh. Nasty, ugly dilemma.

Not long ago we had another inspiration: We have a friend, Robert, who we consult with from time to time about autism. He knows Joseph well, we like his values, and he and his wife already have children, so they get parenthood. With trembling fingers we sent an email popping the question (we figured an email would give him time to think and discuss with his wife).

They said yes. They said yes! People want Joseph – people who would go into this with their eyes wide open. God bless this man and his wife. We are so fortunate to have them in our lives.

Something in me came unglued, in the best way possible, when we got that yes. A tight fist released. A held breath let go. The shoulders dropped a couple of inches.

“Why do you doubt?” Yogananda once asked one of his disciples. Indeed, why do we doubt? Everything is a symbol for everything, I think. Worrying so long and intensely about guardianship is a reflection on my own self-doubts. Who, after all, looks after me? Does Someone really do so?

Lately I’ve been meditating on the word let. Let means invite, open the door, allow, choose. I let myself feel supported. I let God show me the way. Robert and his wife let in the possibility of a real life-changer by saying yes to guardianship.

Always there is the presence of God, right here and right now. All we have to do is let that presence in. It’s a sweet, simple shift: a heart opens, a mind stills, a prayer ushers forth, and there God is. There God always is.

Why do we doubt? I guess because all the best stuff — the angels that surround us, the love that’s constantly flowing to us, God’s whisper in our hearts — is quiet, is invisible, is behind the veil. If we could just know we were held, we could stop trying so hard to hold ourselves — and others — up.

May you and I let in the angels, the love, and the still, small voices. May we let in the possibility of a Guardian way beyond anything we can figure out with these rational minds.

May we know, in the depths of our being, that this Guardian looks at us, with all our goods and bads, and, with infinite love and not a moment’s hesitation, says, “Yes.”

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