Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sister Mary Catherine

 Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Matthew 5:11

            I’ve always been a square peg in a round hole world.  I remember trying as a kid to be like other children, and woefully failing.  I’m sure some of that was due to my being a little girl with ADHD at a time when only little boys were on the radar for such things, but my desire to sing early in the morning and my inability to stop talking and eat my lunch was only part of the quirky little puzzle known as yours truly.  I was also one of the few kids I knew in school who went to church.  I didn’t go to birthday parties that were scheduled on Sunday mornings.  I didn’t listen to music that had swearing or sex in it.  Even in elementary school, that made me different, and one more reason why I stuck out like a sore thumb.  I remember clinging to teachers for companionship and support during the first nine years of school, a sort of “substitute mom” until I could return to the safety of my home, where I was loved, not just in spite of, but because of my uniqueness.  Understandably, I wanted to be protected and defended from a world that didn’t seem to understand or like me.    

            By the time high school rolled around, the few kids who had a beef with me, my faith or both didn’t bother me, because I had found “my tribe”—the art and music freaks and geeks.  In that group of students, there were people of no faith, differing faiths and my faith.  I had friends who smoked, drank and did drugs, as well as some who abstained.  I had gotten used to affectionately being called, “Sister Mary Catherine” by friends whose lifestyles varied from mine.  They didn’t see me as a threat.  Ironically, in high school, my opposition came from two teachers.

            I remember sitting in art class, while a substitute teacher eyed me warily.  I wasn’t doing anything out of the ordinary for me, but she didn’t trust me.  She brought me up to her desk and said, “Alright, just tell the truth.  What are you on?”  I told her nothing.  She asked me what on earth could make my pupils that big and cause me to smile this early in the morning.  I told her the truth—I professed the name of the One who had made my pupils that big and gave me a reason to smile during first period: JESUS. 

            Apparently, that was proof I was on something, and I was sent to the nurse.  When I popped my head into her office, the dear lady who saw me every day for my hypoglycemia snacks couldn’t help but laugh.  She knew my pupils were naturally large, I loved art class and yes, I loved Jesus.  We had a chuckle about it and she sent me back to class.  It was a little weird, but certainly not a life-changing occurrence. 

            My science teacher (We’ll call him Mr. K), however, attacked my faith directly.  A student teacher, who was also a Christian, had taught with Mr. K earlier in the year.  Among many other life lessons, the student teacher shared with me the importance of studying evolution, because it was school curriculum.  He told me that the outside world will never respect and consider your views if you don’t know where they’re coming from, where you agree and where your views differ.  However, if I chose to do a separate report on the Intelligent Design theory (with reputable sources to back up my position), I could share it during the last five minutes of class for extra credit. 

When we were almost done with our evolution chapter, I went to Mr. K. and told him I was ready to schedule my extra credit report.  He snorted, shook his head and said, “Why would anyone listen to you?  I will not permit you to waste my time on this mythological B.S.”

Shocked and angry, I brought this information to my principal.  My teacher was forced to apologize, but I was never permitted to share my data (He always “ran out of class time”).  I got a decent grade in his class, but Mr. K never looked at me the same after that discussion.  In his eyes, my faith made me an idiot.  I couldn’t get a note from the nurse clearing my name this time. 

Jesus knew more about this feeling than anyone.  He’d been called crazy, a liar, a blasphemer and worse.  The way He loved, the words He spoke and the mission He came to complete made him a target.  He knew we would someday be insulted, hated and, in some parts of the world, even killed for being who He had called us to be.  He said we would be BLESSED because of it. 

Does anybody else struggle with this one?  It would be easy if we were called to be different and were encouraged to freak out on people who insult us.  I’d be all over debating to the death in my defense—it’s what passionate people do!  But we are called to simply love those who hate us, lie about us and yes, even those who wish us harm, and let Him be our avenger.  UUUUUUUGH, I don’t wanna!  I’ll love ‘em, but I want to have my say!  Unfortunately, Jesus didn’t put a rebuttal clause in to loving those who hate you.  Sometimes you have the opportunity to respond, sometimes you don’t.  But if Jesus could keep silent and love as He died for the sins of all humanity (yours truly included), surely I can rest in knowing that the same God who made me quirky, loud and enthusiastic will equip me to love in the face of adversity.

               

Saturday, July 20, 2013

I'm Here

"As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you ..."
Isaiah 66:13a



My Sweet Wyatt,

            It’s been a wild night, hasn’t it?  What I’m about to say might seem odd now, but I think someday you’ll understand. 

I don’t know what the future holds for you, but I do hope it includes parenthood.  I say that, not only because I am ecstatic at the thought of spoiling grand kids, but because I want you to know how much I really do love you.  Yes, even when you yell, scream, threaten and say hateful things to me.  But you can’t understand that until you’re on the other side of the door, listening to a screaming child from the outside. 

When you were little, so much of the world overwhelmed you, but comforting you was tricky.  I couldn’t give you eye contact, you didn’t like to rock, there could be no noise and yet you needed to know I was there.  I often would hold you facing out, so you could feel my presence and “check out” at the same time. 

Now that you’re older, your needs are different.  You are still overwhelmed by the world sometimes, but your meltdowns are very different.  In stead of banging your head repeatedly, throwing every object in your room at the wall or screaming a single tone incessantly, you throw words at me.  I want you to know, I’m still here.  I know by the frightened look in your eyes that you don’t mean, or even truly understand the hateful phrases you hurl at me.  While I may need to step away from you, or even leave the room for a while, I’m still here.  I have not given up on you.  I never will.

I also know that when you begin to calm down, the overwhelming guilt from words and actions that felt so out of your control will wash over you.  I wish I had a stronger rebuttal for your self-criticisms, but I want you to know that I mean these words with every fiber of my being.  You are NOT a mistake.  If given the choice, I wouldn't change you.  Autism is not a character flaw or a disease.  It is part of you that I love very much.  If you didn't have autism, while it’s true that you wouldn't have so many meltdowns, you also wouldn't have cracked the phonics code at three years of age.  You wouldn't be able to calculate (in your head, no less!) the exact number of chips in a bag.  You wouldn't draw valentines with video game characters proclaiming their love for me.  Half of the awesomeness I post on my Facebook page would vanish without your wit, quirky humor and amazing heart.  Your gifts are worth the work. 

I do not know what the future holds, son.  I don’t know what you’ll need, or how I will meet those needs as the teen and adult years approach.  It scares me sometimes.  I’m sure, just like now, I will have to try my darnedest and fail often.  I know you will someday be bigger, taller and stronger than I am.  You probably won’t want to rock on my lap, as you do now.  You might even want to live on your own when you graduate.  And yet, amidst the uncertainty, this much I know: we do not walk this journey alone.  As I do my best to comfort you, The Father will shower us with His perfect love and guidance.  It is because I know He walks with me, I can promise you this, Wyatt: as long as there is breath in my body, I’m here. 


All my love,

Mom 

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About Me

I'm not your average housewife; but then, neither is any other housewife I've met! My life is a constant blur of kids, animals, hunting down and testing allergy-friendly recipes, shopping, LOTS of coffee, yarn crafting, nannying, singing and writing. I married my highschool sweetheart (the introvert who is a type-A, shy, organized, loves hunting, hiking and mountain climbing. He lives for pizza, burgers and cookies and doesn't like coffee). We are polar opposites, but Love, grace and a whole lotta Jesus can overcome anything! :) We have two boys who fill this house with lots of excitement, love, laughter and lunacy! Alan (9) is a happy-go-lucky, inventive, dramatic, eager-to-please kid who loves being dad's shadow and mom's shopping companion. He's the snuggliest kid I've ever met! Wyatt is extremely bright, inquisitive, entertaining and endearing. He lives for routine, Wii games, pixar films and writing stories. Alan is typically-developing, Wyatt has high-functioning autism. We live on an acre in the Pacific Northwest with our two aussies and 5 chickens. It's not the Waltons, but it works! :)