Saturday, September 24, 2011

Thinking that People are Idiots

A few days after writing my last blog post (about a very rude and out of touch man at Bed, Bath, and Beyond ) I had an interesting interaction with God. I was at a memorial service for a friend. We were in the middle of a deeply emotional and intense moment of musical worship when I felt that God brought to mind the interaction with the man with no verbal governor. Alongside the feelings of sadness and grief that I was already feeling, all of the feelings of anger and resentment toward that man (and the many people who have said stupid things about Josh) exploded inside me.

Ironically, we were singing "Amazing Grace" while I was reliving my thoughts and feelings of hating the stupid idiots that populate the planet and my life.

"Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me . . ."

("Oh yeah, and also that soccer coach who was rude to Josh, what an incredible jerk . . . ")

A few minutes later, I heard God say to me, "Have you ever said anything stupid?"

Of course, the answer is, Yes. I know in my heart that I say stupid things all the time. In fact, just a few minutes before, during the socializing time prior to the memorial, I had said something to an acquaintance that I deeply regretted. So, yes. I have and I feel bad about it.

Slowly, the incongruence of the moment stuck me. Here I am singing about grace, supposedly worshiping the God of grace, acknowledging the grace in my friend's life. I walk around as an undisciplined extrovert counting on the grace of God and people to cover all of the unthoughtful or inappropriate things that I might say. I think God was pointing out to me that it's the same grace that covers the stupid idiot things that random strangers say about Josh. Can you believe it? Grace covers insensitive things said about kids with special needs.

I thought back to that moment at Bed, Bath, and Beyond and imagined Grace being present. I pictured the face of the man who had said those things about Josh. Though the lens of grace I could see that he was not a stupid idiot. He was a person in need of grace, just like I am. I forgave him and felt a burden lifting from my heart.

" . . . was blind but now I see."

Friday, September 16, 2011

Bed, Bath and Beyond

Tonight I took Josh on a quick errand to Bed, Bath, and Beyond. It was going quite well since there were no other children there, including his sisters. We were in line to pay for my item when Josh started happily nuzzling a big pile of pillows that were near the check out counter.

He was incredibly happy, giggling, and having a full sensory experience of the pillows when I hear someone behind me say, "What is wrong with this child?" I turn around to see a middle aged man standing there with his college aged son. Without skipping a beat, and with out being mean, I simply said, "He has autism." Just three words. There could have been so many.

The man went into full on verbal backtracking mode, rambling about how God has a special blessing for these kids sometimes and that he has a cousin who has a child with polio and that child is the most loving child . . .

I listened for 2-3 long minutes. At the end of 3 eternal minutes, everyone in line was clearly mortified. The college aged son found a reason to move elsewhere in the store. I paid for my item, said goodbye to the man and walked out of the store.

Can someone explain to me why a person would say, out loud, "What is wrong with this child?" right behind that child's mother? Even if there was nothing "wrong" with my child, I would be so offended. What is wrong with my child? What is wrong with people out there?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Perfect Summer Day

This summer has been a tough one for Joshua and his Mama. Top 5 things that Joshua has been up to that has driven his mom crazy are:

1. So much crying for apparent reasons and no apparent reason
2. Eating lots of non-food items like rubber stamps, video tape (see previous post), toilet paper, entire pages of beloved books. He has also gotten into eating pseudo-food items that are still completely inappropriate like previously chewed gum that has been stuck to the side of a public garbage can. I'm not kidding.
3. Demanding random videos that I rented from the library many months ago. He would ask for them over and over again for hours. "Want Baby Galileo. Want Baby Galileo. Want Baby Galileo"
4. Pouring liquids into strange places (like my coffee into his toy boxes in his room). Pouring water onto floors, etc.
5. Intentionally peeing on the floor (or onto piles of clothes) in his room. This one made me the most crazy. One time he peed on a TV/VCR that was on. He could have electrocuted himself! We were way beyond this in his potty training journey but suddenly, he went way backward with this behavior.

So, yes. Difficult summer.

But I have to tell you about one day that was wonderful.

A few weeks ago, we were at a friend's cabin in the mountains for a week. One day, we rented a boat and spent the good part of a day on a lake. We explored various places around the lake, went hiking, and soaked up the glorious sun.

Of course, I was worried about how Josh would be. There's not really many places to escape if he's having a hard time on a boat. But Josh loved it. The hum and vibrations of the motor, the sound of the water, the slightly cool breeze; these things were pure sensory pleasure for Josh.

A friend, the dad of the other family who was with us, decided that this was the day to introduce Josh to hiking. Josh did shockingly well with it. We couldn't believe how hard he worked to climb up rocks and walk up hills. Josh even jumped off of a rock into the lake (with some help). He swam. He ate watermelon quietly. He even told me when he needed to go to the bathroom.

And, as everyone knows, if Josh is happy, Mom is happy. I was so happy. How I want this kid to be happy. . . from the bottom of my soul. I know that I can't control this. I have little power to make this happen. But when it does, it's so wonderful. A professor of mine once told me that "a shared joy is a double joy". I want to share with the world about one perfect summer day!