We are annoying!

NOTE: This is written for people with high-functioning autism. If you don’t have it, feel free to skip this, as it probably won’t do you much good:)

I was talking with my son with autism the other day. He said that he was having a hard time in his social skills class because he was feeling weighed down by all of the negative comments he was hearing from his classmates – kids who feel treated poorly because of their autism.

We talked a bit about different ways he could try to not let those comments get to him – listen to music to block out the words, think about something else, pray for his classmates, try to offer words of encouragement (though that doesn’t usually go so well – people commiserating don’t usually want to hear a reason not to complain).

Finally I said, you know, we people with autism are often quite annoying to other people. We don’t mean to be, but the fact simply is: we are.

So when we feel mistreated, we need to remember that we probably did something that pushed the other person over the edge of decorous behavior. Yes, people should be kind, no matter what. But we should also learn to be less annoying, no matter what. They are only human and just aren’t going to be able to be infinitely patient with us all of the time.

Our disability is generally invisible, which means that most people won’t realize we have autism. And those that do don’t necessarily know what that really means  – how that makes us different. And those that do, just get tired, sometimes.

We need to cling to the verse:

2 Timothy 1:7
For God gave us not a spirit of fearfulness; but of power and love and discipline.

When we see a colleague’s eyes glazing over (yes, that means that you need to make eye contact, at least every so often!), we need to try to wrap up our monologue and ask a question about them. When we feel like something isn’t right, we need to practice praying about whether or not we should actually say something, and if so, how to be as tactful and kind as possible.

Yes, sometimes we aren’t treated nicely. But remember, we truly can be annoying!

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The Greatest of these is Love

I was so saddened to read this article on how people still believe that those with developmental disabilities are, “horrors:” Babies with Down Syndrome are a ‘Horror’ Claims Philly Columnist.

As a parent of a child, son-to-be-adult, who has a developmental disability, I will say that raising him has taken more time, effort and money than raising my neurotypical daughter. And while it seems that he will probably be able to live a “normal” life as an adult, he will probably always need a little more support from us, a spouse, others in his life than a “normal” adult would.

But to classify him or someone with Down Syndrome as a “horror”? I thought we were beyond that as a society.

Maybe people with developmental disabilities will never be “contributing members of society” in the American sense of being economically independent and supporting others financially. But what do we hear over and over again from people at the end of their lives. Is it that they wished that they could have made more money or spent more money on someone else? No, it is that they wished that they would have taken more time to love and accept love.

I spent a fair amount of time around people with Down Syndrome who were classmates of my son in special education classes. And I am sorry to sound cliche, but they truly are some of the most loving people I have ever met. They would keep watch over my son, their colleague, and make sure that he knew what was going on, make sure that he was included – something that generally doesn’t happen around his “normal” peers.

So if we truly believe that Love is the most important thing in this life, wouldn’t we want more of these “horrors” around, not less?

Happy late Valentine’s Day!

Why Judah?

lion.jpg

While continuing to read through Genesis, I ran across this:

9 You are a lion’s cub, Judah; you return from the prey, my son. Like a lion he crouches and lies down, like a lioness—who dares to rouse him? 10 The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,until he to whom it belongs shall come and the obedience of the nations shall be his. 

Genesis 49:9-10

Judah is the fourth son of Jacob, also known as Israel. In that culture, usually it would be the firstborn son that would receive the largest blessing, so I did a little research to see if there was an answer somewhere in the Bible explaining God’s choice.

There isn’t an explanation. But here is a blog post that I found on the website, One for Israel that I thought had some great thoughts on the subject:

The Mysterious Choice of Judah

May we all have the attitude of Leah, as described in the article above!

(One for Israel describes themselves as such: We are an Israeli ministry composed of Jewish & Arab followers of Yeshua (Jesus) who are all about blessing Israel through sharing the gospel online, educating the new generation of born-again believers through our one and only Hebrew-speaking Bible College in Israel, and helping holocaust survivors by supplying humanitarian aid.)

 

Are you on a pilgrimage?

notre-dame-paris-france-615343.jpeg

7 Then Joseph brought his father Jacob in and presented him before Pharaoh. After Jacob blessed Pharaoh, 8 Pharaoh asked him, “How old are you?” 9 And Jacob said to Pharaoh, “The years of my pilgrimage are a hundred and thirty.

Genesis 47:7-9a

This got me to thinking, what is a pilgrimage like?

Pilgrims are on a journey to a very specific destination. They don’t let any sort of hardship get in their way. They keep plodding forward no matter the sacrifice. They don’t complain about injury or hunger or thirst. They realize that it is all just a part of the journey. Nothing stops their progress but death.

Sometimes they travel with their family and friends, but often they must leave behind all they know, both people and places. They miss their family, wishing that they could be with them, and hoping that one day, they too will reach the holy site. But the excitement of the journey far outweighs any loneliness.

I have never made a pilgrimage, but the little bit of traveling I have done gives me a small sense for some of the feelings a pilgrim might experience. For instance, my daughter and I went to Paris for a week last spring.

First we had to sacrifice a bit on our spending at home so that we could afford expensive plane tickets and lodging at a safe hotel. We spent months studying guide books and researching activities, laws, routes, hospital locations, etc. online. We were able to talk with some friends who had just been to Paris the spring before, and learned tips from other friends who had visited years ago.

We tried not to talk too much about our excitement with those who weren’t going or hadn’t been, as we didn’t want to incite jealousy. Some people didn’t even know we were going until after we got back – so maybe we kept it a little too low key sometimes!

The journey was long and left us feeling physically ill. Operating in a foreign language was tiring. I was always just a little bit on edge for our safety, as terrorist attacks have become somewhat common there, and we are just two small women. We missed family and friends a little. But the joy of being there and experiencing things we had never experienced before far outweighed any discomforts.

We would go back there in a heartbeat! We loved our “pilgrimage”.

May I be a pilgrim here in my everyday, too.

Everything is a video game!

videogaming

Last night I had my teenage son help me prepare supper. We were making Chicken Étoufée, so there was a lot of: cook this for a while, then add this and cook it some more, then add this other thing, etc, all while stirring continuously.

At one point, I was stirring, and asked him to add the next set of ingredients. He picked up the container of diced vegetables and tipped it over the pan. He then started to jab at the mirepoix with his rubber scraper, flicking little bits of it at a time into the roux.

“You could turn your scraper to more efficiently…,” I began. Then I heard the giggling and saw how the mini vegetable bombs were just missing my stirring hand, the container trying to get into rhythm with arm.

“You turned this into a video game, didn’t you?” Louder giggling. “OK, just be more careful not to get it on the neighboring burners – stoves are a lot of work to clean!”