A Bad Rap

Order In The Court!
Order In The Court!

"Mommy, what does guilty mean?" Sage questions me as I tuck him in.

He has been very interested in the roles of judges, jury, jail, handcuffs, and so on.

"It means that you did what you are accused of doing, that you did what they said you did."  

I explain further, "But, it doesn't mean that what you did was wrong, it just means that you did it.  For example, I am wearing this green shirt. So if you said, "Mommy, are you wearing a green shirt." I could say, "Guilty as charged!" But, there is nothing wrong with wearing a green shirt.

"Yes there is!" he replies, adamantly, as if looking for justice.

Taken aback a bit I probe; question the witness, "What do you mean?"

"That shirt is Daddy's shirt, it's not yours! And, it's the wrong season!" He advocates.

Guilty as charged.

It was Daddy's Oscar-the-Grouch T-shirt and I was wearing it in the middle of winter. 

Really?  He has been offended all day long by the shirt I chose to wear?  

He has 2 solid charges against me and he's ready to take me to court!

Well, at least in jail my wardrobe would be set and there would be no room for offense: Black and white stripes day and night!

Stunned, I think about why he is so offended over this, and ponder it.

How many times had I told him to change his clothes because they weren't appropriate for the weather?

Thick hooded sweatshirts had to be put out-of-sight for the 90+ degree summer days; t-shirts had to be hidden when the weather turned brisk.  

  As I consider all this, I think.

I admire him.  He really puts up with a lot.  So much he sees as "wrongs" and injustices and he just carries on, until...

I remember the time I was rubbing his back as he was dozing off to sleep. "Mommy, you rubbed it 124 times! Can you stop?" 

I had no idea he was counting!  How many things does he count, and can he stop?  

It is no wonder he gets frustrated! 

Sometimes it seems like the littlest thing will put him over the edge but actually, he's probably been counting and watching and seeing rules broken all over the place and he let's it slide. And then we hold him to a rule?  How unfair!

Why is that rule more important than all the others that he's seen broken through the day?

I think:  he really is more patient than we give him credit for.  He can seem so on-edge at times; his brother even more-so.  

Kids with ASD's are often thought of as having a short fuse, like we need to walk on egg shells around them; not sure when the next explosion may occur.

He has...They have, a bad rap.

They are actually very slow to anger.

Very much like our God. 

I think I want to be more like that. Slow to anger, patient; showering out grace on my kids.

"Then the Lord came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the Lord. And He passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, "The Lord, The Lord, the compassionate and and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin." Exodus 34:5-7

 

 

 

 

 

The Insanity Of It All!

images

I stand in the middle of the isle, hands grip the cart. I challenge my visual discrimination skills, spying out the giant size boxes of Goldfish crackers at Target.

My heart beats strong as my squinted blue eyes shock wide at the change before them.

The near-square box with a milk carton top and a picture of a big happy Goldfish on the sides now is covered with less-happy Goldfish dressed as Pirates!

That is so unfair.  Just like that, with no consultation with me or Stevie, the box has changed.

Life will no longer be as it has been.

Stevie will remember the time Pepperidge Farm decided to add orange basketball shaped traitor-crackers to their traditional goldfish shaped ones.

The horror, the Outrage!

I drive home, put the box away and wait.

Stevie skips off the bus and travels the driveway to our house.

"Goldfish?  Mommy, can I have Goldfish please?"

I bring out the box.

"Different Goldfish please?"

"These are all we have, Stevie." I say matter-of-factly.

"No, no?"

"Look, Stevie."  I pour the fish as I try to pour courage into him.  I hide my own fear at what lays inside the box: Are there goldfish in costume, mixed in with the bare ones?  Are there swords? Ships?

The possibilities are endless because of the deeds, the crimes committed in boxes past.

I pour from the mysterious carton. Our heart beats slow and breath returns as we see them dressed only with salt.

"See Stevie?  They are just the regular Goldfish! Only the box is different!"

He gratefully takes his bowl and crunches the salty snack, his head buzzes with the high only regular Cheddar Goldfish can provide him.

All is as it should be, this time.

 

But the last time?

The last time was a disaster.  The offense of basketballs mixed in with the treasured Goldfish was a unforgettable sin. Goldfish boxes will be scrutinized from here on out!

Often, the last time determines the next time, but not always. It isn't a rule set in stone as my ASD children may expect; as we may expect.

Anxiety stalks "the last time"; crouches at its door, waiting for it to repeat--as if fueling itself for the mocking scream, "It will turn out just like the last time this happened!"

Maybe the millions of children who delight in Cheddar Goldfish as much as Stevie does, complained to Pepperidge Farms about those invader basketball crackers.

Maybe they learned their lesson!

Maybe they won't ever put impostor-crackers in the cute fishy boxes ever again, and Stevie can relax a little when they make the box festive.

 

Just because it was different the last time the picture on the carton changed, doesn't mean it will be different this time.

But that is what we expect, isn't it?  That history repeats itself?

Let's complete these scenarios:

1) Car breaks down.  Last time it was the transmission (read expensive!) so this time ______

2) A child throws up.  Last time everyone got sick at the same time, so this time ______

3) You wake up with a sore throat. Last time you were sick for weeks, so this time _______

4) Your boss calls you in to his office for an unexpected meeting on a Friday. Need I say more?

And Anxiety sits there waiting to spark the heart to beat faster, the muscles to knot. It is satisfied, it's stomach full.

 

The first few examples really did happen to us recently, but the results were far from expected.  There was no reason to worry; history did not repeat itself.

What happened in reality is:

1) The serpentine belt had shredded and it wasn't nearly as expensive or time consuming to fix.

2) It wasn't a stomach virus at all and no one else got sick.

3) I didn't get sick, coffee soothed my wintered-dry throat.

 

Just because it happened "that way" last time, doesn't mean it will happen “that way” again.

Having said that, Isn't the definition (according to Albert Einstein) of insanity, "Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."? 

It’s so freeing to allow ourselves to be insane! (grin)

 

So much emotional energy is wasted by falling into that all-to-easy trap Anxiety has set up for us.  I am sure this is why there is so much good advice in the Scriptures regarding worry and anxiety.

Here are a few of my favorites:

 Phil 4:6  "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."

 1 Peter 5:7  "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you."

Proverbs 12:25

"Anxiety weighs down the heart,

but a kind word cheers it up."

Jeremiah 17: 7-8

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”