Category Archives: Special Life

Jon’s Octopus

Basic CMYKJon was fourteen years old when we visited Catalina Island off the coast of California. Our friends, Earl and Pat, had moved to the island from Maine when Earl took the job of maintenance overseer for a large girl scout camp located there.

Summers at the beachfront camp were noisy and chaotic, with hundreds of girls and camp counselors arriving constantly in one to two week shifts. But winters were long, quiet and lonely; a good time to visit, and since we were homeschooling, the boys and I planned a six week stay during the winter of 1994.

From the day he arrived, Jon decided Earl (or Pa, as the boys and every other ‘grandchild’, related or not, called him) was going to take him fishing in the ocean.

“And I’m going to catch an octopus,” he declared to all of us.

“It’s really hard to catch an octopus Jon,” Pa told him, “they live way, way down, too deep in the water to get on your hook.”

But every day Jon kept insisting and reminding us, as soon as Pa took him fishing, he was going to catch an octopus.

We were there several weeks before Earl finally had a free day for fishing. They packed a lunch and eagerly climbed into the boat along with Jon’s younger brother, David, and a neighbor, Ken, the caretaker of the yacht club located a few miles down the beach.

Jon told Pa and Ken as they left the shore, “I’m going to catch an octopus now.” Ken replied with the same explanation Pa had given.

Everyone was trying to lessen the disappointment that was coming, in spite of Jon’s insistence.

They left in the morning and in late afternoon I heard Jon running up the beach to the house shouting, “Mom, Mom, I caught an octopus! Mom! I caught an octopus!”

I went outside to meet him. He was grinning from ear to ear. Jon has always had a huge and slightly quirky imagination so I figured he was fantasizing in his head again, pretending he had caught one because it’s what he’d wanted so much.

Earl met me halfway to the dock with a giant smile on his face. “Well, you’re never going to believe it, I still can’t, but Jon caught an octopus today.”

“You’re kidding.” I was stunned and delighted all at the same time. “I thought you said it was impossible?”

“I’ve been fishing in the ocean for years and never have I or anyone I know, caught an octopus. “ Earl looked as amazed as I felt.

Turns out they were a few miles off shore when Jon felt a tug on his line. He reeled it in and to everyone’s (but his) surprise there was a baby octopus clinging to the string.

Jon got his octopus!

That was twenty one years ago.

And I’ve never forgotten it.

When I read, “Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you” (1 Peter 5:7), or “Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4), I’m reminded of a God who cares enough about a fourteen year old special needs kid to send a baby octopus from the depths of the ocean to his fishing line.

In the hard times, circumstances and struggles of life, when you feel as if God isn’t listening and He doesn’t care about you or the details of your situation…

..remember Jon and his octopus.

God knows.

He sees.

He understands.

He cares.

Keep believing for the impossible.

Keep trusting.

You never know what could be surfacing from the depths of despair, just for you.

“You’re Welcome, Jon!”

Jon wanted to go out again yesterday. So I ran a few quick errands while he waited in the car, then drove to the library because he’d hinted at wanting to pick out some movies. But he wouldn’t get out of the car. Guess he’d changed his mind. Vanilla-Bean-Ice-Cream-5-mark

He wrote ‘ice crem’ on a scrap piece of paper he found, so I headed for Baskin Robbin/Dunkin Donuts. When he finally got out of the car he went into the Subway next door. He got a foot long club, three bags of chips, a soda and a milk.

We were there from 4:30-9:30pm. When he finished that he went next door for ice cream. We were there until they closed at 11pm. I bought him a cup of Munchkins to go. Then he stared longingly at the ice cream cakes. He wanted one.

“Not now, it’s time to go home, pleeeease! It’s late. I’m tired. They’re closing. I’ll get you one for Christmas,” I told him, trying to maintain some semblance of patience.

He flipped through the entire cake design book pointing at the ones he liked; a Valentines Day cake, Birthday cake, white with pink roses cake, everything but Christmas.

By the time Jon got in the car then back out of it at home, it was 12:15am. I set his Munchkins on the kitchen island and proceeded to shut off lights, put Cola Kitty in the garage and lock down the house for the night.

He walked past me on the way to his room, Munchkins in hand, paused and said, “Thanks for the ride.”

I laughed.

Really Jon? I read an entire novel today, cover to cover, waiting around with you and that’s all you got?!

But it was his way of saying he had a good time.

Sometimes you just gotta’ see past your own need for acknowledgement, back pats, atta’ boys and Oscar awards and be grateful for whatever a person is able to give.

“You’re Welcome, Jon.” :)

The Blame Game – My Special Education, Lesson #12

Jon Me IHOP 11-2015It’s no one’s fault,” the doctor in my hospital room said, the morning after our son was born. “These things just happen sometimes.”

Our newborn baby had Down syndrome and as the doctor began to explain the possible long term outcomes for him and our family, my heart raced in panic. My mind filled with a cloud of fear.

“NO! This can’t be happening! Not to my baby! Not to me! Not to us!”

Isn’t that how it goes when we’re faced with circumstances beyond our control? When our carefully thought out plans are suddenly ambushed?

We’re cruising through life, a few bumps and glitches here and there, but nothing we can’t handle. Then suddenly..Wham!!

We find, not just the proverbial rug pulled out from under us, but the floor too. The ground has just opened up and swallowed us whole!

And when we’re done free-falling, we have to find a reason. The ‘Why’ must be answered. It has to be SomeOne’s or SomeThing’s fault.

A friend sent me a card once that read, “Life is all about how you handle Plan B.”

Plan A is what you want. Plan B is what you get and I wasn’t dealing well at all, with what I got.

I fell into absolute despair trying to figure out what I did to cause my child’s disability. For months it filled every waking moment and many sleepless nights. Those pesky, “I should have” and “I shouldn’t have” scenarios, plagued my thoughts constantly.

There was plenty of help in the guilt department from well meaning folks. Everything from, “You should of eaten more potatoes while you were pregnant,” (no kidding) to “You must have bad sin hiding someplace in your life for God to punish you like this.”

Apparently there was a rash of babies born with Down syndrome at the time. In an attempt to find a common denominator (or something to blame) the Department of Health and Human Services for the State of New York called when Jon was about a month old to ask if they could survey me.

“Do you live near power lines? How long have you lived there?”
“Have you ever taken drugs? Did you take drugs while pregnant?”
“How often do you drink alcohol? Never? Occasionally? Once a week? Everyday?”
“What kind of make up do you wear? What brand of laundry detergent do you use?”

After an hour long barrage of questions, I hung up the phone more convinced than ever I was the cause of my son’s diagnosis.

When I finally gave up blaming myself I turned my angst on God. He could have prevented this but didn’t. It was His fault and I was mad. What kind of God did I believe in anyway? An overwhelmingly devastating question for me, since we were fresh out of Bible college and my husband was just beginning a lifetime of pastoral ministry.

Though it seemed artificial to be so angry at God when my husband was a pastor, and I, the pastor’s wife, anger was all that made sense at the time. It was the easiest life raft to cling to.

We see it in the daily news continuously. A crisis occurs, a shooting, tornado, flood, fire, mudslide, plane crash, death, violence or destruction. The talking heads start in, opinion-ating, analyzing, philosophizing and finally conclude with, “Something must be done to make sure this never happens again.”

Either people want to believe they have this much power, this much control, or placing blame is just a coping mechanism for the unanswerable and unexplained.

Sometimes there is someone to blame but more often not. Sometimes stuff just happens because we live on a fallen, broken and sin cursed planet.

Finding possible solutions is useful but the blame game often goes around in a monotonous circle until we are divided and estranged, from each other and from our only source of hope. God.

It seems God is blamed for most everything that goes wrong, by people who barely acknowledge His existence the rest of the time or bother to thank Him for any of the good and right in life.

In his book, Reframe. From the God We’ve Made to the God With Us, Brian Hardin said it this way: “We don’t usually start with God, but if we can’t find an answer we often end up there. God has become the cosmic trash heap for all humankind’s unexplainable suffering. He’s apparently got His hands in everything from tornadoes to human trafficking. From cancer to the reason the car wouldn’t start this morning. And this is the God we’re supposed to be in a relationship with?”

If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s this: I can’t control everything that happens to me, to those I care about or to the world at large. And I don’t have to figure everything out, don’t have to know all the answers.

I only have to admit and own what I’m responsible for and trust my Heavenly Daddy has a greater plan and purpose than I can see.

He will bring justice in His time. He will make everything right in His way and acceptance of this truth, deep in my heart and soul, not just my head, brings peace in a frenzied world.

And for all my initial distress, despair, crying, sighing, shouting and blaming, my son turned out to be a blessing, a unique treasure God values and loves. Someone who is always teaching me the art of selflessness, drawing me closer to the heart of my Father.

I eventually laid it down, the miserable scrutinizing, finger pointing and fretting over who or what was at fault. It was exhausting and served no purpose. Blaming drained life from me and returned nothing.

The blame game was over and I lost.

But I’m no longer a sore looser, just a grateful one.

 
Job 40:1-5 The Lord said to Job: “Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him? Let him who accuses God answer him!” Then Job answered the Lord: “I am unworthy—how can I reply to you? I put my hand over my mouth. I spoke once, but I have no answer—twice, but I will say no more.”

Romans 9:20 “Who do you think you are to talk back to God like that? Can an object that was made say to its maker, “Why did you make me like this?”

John 16:33 “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

My Gnat Confession

scary-gnatCleaning Jon’s room makes me mad! I’m confessing, putting it out here for all to read.

Every time I clean his room I battle a huge bad attitude. One way to deal with my anger has been to give it a name, “The Landfill”, and to play worship music on my iPad as loudly as possible while cleaning.

The past few days we’ve been seeing little gnat things flying around the house and couldn’t figure out where they were coming from. I do a quick check in Jon’s room every other day or so, making sure nothing’s growing or moving that shouldn’t be and about once a week, do a more thorough clean and sheet change.

Yesterday, I decided it was “Landfill” cleaning day. Mike was home so he helped me with the vacuuming and I was sorting through Jon’s usual piles of stuff on the floor and in crates making sure everything was kosher, when I found it buried under a pile of stuffed animals, a personal size Rubbermaid cooler that he had taken from a cabinet in the laundry room.

I opened it to see what was inside and a fleet of gnats flew up in my face. After they lifted off, I noticed the bottom of the cooler was alive and moving with hundreds of little gnat larva. They were living off some sort of food science experiment growing in there.

Horrified, I screamed, slammed the top shut, grabbed it, ran to the front door and heaved the cooler as hard as I could into the yard. I slammed the front door closed and jumped around in the foyer for a few minutes, totally grossed out, itching, shaking and hollering, trying to get hallucinatory gnats off of me.

Once that subsided, incredible anger took its place. I stomped into the kitchen and yelled at Jon for two minutes straight while he stared at me like I’d just lost my mind then I went back in his room, still freaking out, and tried to tell Mike I’d found the source of our gnat invasion.

“I can’t hear anything you’re saying. You’ve got the music so loud it sounds like a Pentecostal church service in here. Turn it down so I can hear you.” Mike hollered over the music.

I yelled back, “Listening to that music is the only way I get through cleaning this room so you best be glad it’s playing. I’m so mad right now if that music shuts off I’m gonna’ smack someone, and hard!”

We scrubbed the daylights out of Jon’s room for the next hour. I reluctantly searched every nook, cranny, box, crate, bag and pile in there and in his bathroom. I threw every thread of bedding and fabric I could find in the washing machine and got Jon in the shower. He even let me wash his hair, possible penance for what he’d just put me through, though I’ll never know for sure.

A few hours later, after I was sure everything was clean and back in order, I finally calmed down.

Last night I prayed. Though yesterday’s clean was more than unusual, I asked God to show me why I become so angry every time I clean Jon’s room.  God knows my heart better than I, and I want to understand what is triggering this anger inside of me.

The answer came in my prayer as I poured my heart out before my Heavenly Daddy.

“He’s thirty five, I shouldn’t have to still clean his room and it’s not fair that I do. We should be empty nesters now and only cleaning kid messes after grandchildren visit.”

As much as I love my son, cleaning his room is evidence that this didn’t turn out as I’d hoped and hope disappointed triggers many reactions and emotions. We often don’t recognize their source.

Like we didn’t know where the gnats were coming from, I didn’t know where my anger was coming from until I searched, until I asked.

Now that I know, God and I can start working on it together; one more area where grace can replace reaction, where a servant heart can replace selfishness.

Recognizing my shortcoming is the first step. Asking God to help me change is the second. He loves me too much to leave me as I am, yet He is gentle enough to expose and change my selfish heart one layer at a time, even if it takes a plague of gnats to motivate me.

Confession is good so I pray I’ll soon have a heart of joy and a song of praise at all times, even in “The Landfill”.

But. Please. Lord. (Shivverrrr) minus all creepy, crawly, cringy, critter things!

Psalm 139:23-24 “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

Ephesians 4:26 “Be angry and sin not, don’t let the sun go down on your wrath or give place to the devil.”

James 5:16 “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that you may be healed.”

A Taste of Things to Come

Mike was in a large, busy place when Jon emerged from the crowd and walked toward him.Mike & Jon

“Hi Dad.”

“Hi Son.”

They embraced, then sat and chatted for a while, reminiscing about Jon’s childhood, “Do you remember the time when..?”

They laughed at the memories.

“Yes, I remember,” Jon said. “I remember everything you’ve ever done for me. Thank you.”

“Why did you do some of the things you did, Jon? We were always just trying to help you. Why were you stubborn and so mean to mom and me sometimes?

“I don’t know. I’m sorry.”

“It’s OK, I forgive you. I’ve always forgiven you, because I’ve always loved you.”

“I know Dad. I know.”

Mike woke up suddenly, filled with joy in having had a real conversation with his son, at last.

But it was only a dream.

In sleep, our heart can reveal what it secretly longs for; the subconscious can give us a taste, a tease, of how it could be. Waking up can bring disappointment or offer us hope. Depends on what we choose to believe.

I believe such a conversation will take place some day, maybe not here on Earth, but when we’re all together on the other side of this life.

There’s nothing quite as reassuring as the hope of Heaven, where all things will be put right and all things will be made new.

Revelation 21:4-5 “and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.”…

The Chasm Between My Norms

chasmI opened my Facebook page this morning to pass along the exciting post our youngest son and his wife shared, announcing our first grandchild on the way (Yahoo!).

As I typed a comment and hit the share button I noticed my post underneath, from last night, about being out with Jon and his roll of toilet paper that accompanied us to the pizza place.

I usually don’t give it much thought, then there are moments like this one, when the wide extremes of my life’s norms, jump up and smack me right between the eyes.

Webster’s Dictionary defines normal as usual or ordinary; not strange.

One child growing up, getting married and having his own children is pretty ordinary.

The other child growing up and toting a roll of toilet paper to the pizza restaurant, standing in parking lots for thirty minutes before going inside a building, singing Disney songs to me at one thirty in the morning and the myriad of other unusual events that come with being Jon’s mom, Mr. Webster wouldn’t consider ordinary at all.

As I scroll back through some of my older Facebook posts, I’m reminded that life with Jon is anything but ordinary and some of it seems downright strange, yet everything about him and this life we share with him has become normal for us.

Occasionally, I’m sad, when I think of the usual milestones Jon’s will never experience, but today the wide extreme depicted by those two Facebook posts made me laugh out loud.

We live in a culture that is saying all experience, ideas and opinions must be either/or. And while it is true there are still absolute values, standards and morals, regardless of what culture thinks or says, my sons have placed me in a world that is both/and; the usual and the unusual, the ordinary and the strange, mixed together in a kaleidoscope of crazy wonder.

Today, I smile, thinking of the unique joy found in living a life that is a pendulum, swinging from one extreme to the other. I’m perched on it, hanging on tight, mostly enjoying the ride, with no clue what tomorrow will bring

Maybe ordinary is overrated.

Get Over it! My Special Education, Lesson #10

car-seat-belt-injury-orlando-flI drove halfway up the driveway before noticing Jon didn’t have his seat belt on, so I stopped the car and put it in park.

“Please put your seat belt on, Jon.”

He glared at the floor and snarled, “Leave me alone!”

“You want to be left alone? Ok then.”

I put the car in reverse and backed it up to the garage, where we’d just come from.

“You want to be left alone? Then get out of the car right now and go back in the house.”

I stared at him. He stared at the floor. We sat in silence for a minute.

“You either get your seat belt on and loose the attitude or get out of this car. I’m going out to have a nice time and I don’t need any grumpys coming along to wreck it.” I said firmly.

The scowl on my son’s face relaxed and he reached for the seat belt and slowly clicked it in place. I thanked him and off we went.

On the way to our destination, I decided to remind him why seat belts are not an option. I began to explain in simple language I knew he understood, that wearing one is the law and how they save lives in case of an accident.

As I was talking he reached out and turned the radio volume up.

“So you don’t want to hear what you need to know, is that it, Jon?” I reached over and turned the radio down. “You don’t want me to talk? Well, I won’t quit talking ‘till I’m dead. So you might as well get used to it.”

He reached over to turn the radio back up but not before I heard him mutter, “Hope that hurries up.”

I desperately tried not to laugh. Something so hurtful can be hilarious coming from Jon. He doesn’t talk much but he sure doesn’t pussy foot around about how he feels. At thirty five, when confronted with his inappropriate behavior, he’s often like a moody, bad attitude teenager who forgot to grow up.

I glanced at him as I drove and answered lightly, “Because you just said that, God is now going to make sure I live forever.”

A barely-there smile crossed his lips and he turned to look out the window so I wouldn’t see it.

This is what I know.

Sometimes, people I care about say words that are less than loving.

Get over it!

Sometimes, people I love are hurtful.

Get over it!

Sometimes those I try to help, lash back.

Get over it!

Sometimes those I most want love, acceptance and approval from, disappoint.

Get over it!

If Jesus, who was nailed to a tree, and in the excruciating pain and suffering of his final breath could declare, “Father forgive them, they don’t know what they’re doing,” for those who hung Him there, I have no right to hold an offense against those who do less to me.

I’m learning from my Savior and my son how to get over it!

Getting over offense is a choice we constantly make. Everyday and in all situations.

Will I hold on to the hurt and add it to my growing list of offenses?

Will I choose bitterness and bondage or forgiveness and freedom?

Will I choose to stop taking every word, action and reaction personally?

Will I choose to stop being overly sensitive.

Will I choose to let go?

When I pray for strength I don’t have, God’s grace meets me at the point of my choice. I then see others through His eyes and with His heart.

Broken.

Bruised.

Damaged.

Valuable.

Forgiven.

Deserving of love.

Worthy of redemption.

Just like me.

So. Get. Over. It!

“The first to apologize is the bravest. The first to forgive is the strongest. The first to forget is the happiest.” ~Unknown~

Matthew 18:21 Peter came up to the Lord and asked, “How many times should I forgive someone who does something wrong to me? Is seven times enough?”22 Jesus answered: Not just seven times, but seventy-seven times!

Colossians 3:13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

Ephesians 4:31-32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Staying Home Instead

fourth-of-july-fireworks-It’s July 4th. Independence Day. The great American holiday.

People are celebrating the founding of our nation by going to the park, the lake, the beach, to a cookout with friends, a get together with family, or to a fireworks display.

Before or after a holiday the common question is, “What are you doing/did you do for the holiday?”

My answer is always the same. “Depends on Jon.” or, “Stayed home with Jon.”

We’re often invited to something, somewhere by someone on these special occasions. It’s not that friends purposely leave us out. “Oh just bring Jon with you,” they say.

And it’s not that we don’t want to go, we just never make it. Jon doesn’t care about being on time or if it’s July 4th.  He doesn’t like crowds or fireworks. Last night, as the neighbors set fireworks off all around us, he stayed in his room yelling, “Shut Up!” over and over again at the outdoors.

So others go and we stay home, learning how to celebrate without joining the masses of those ‘going’ and ‘doing’.

Because of this, I appreciate the true meaning of holidays in ways I never use to. Limits force what is taken for granted, to a place of greater meaning.

Today has been a day of simplicity. I’ve looked up some ‘reminding myself’ history on the founding of our nation and listened to several renditions of “The Star Spangled Banner” on YouTube.

We fertilized and watered all our plants then, surrounded by their colorful beauty, cooled off by floating in the pool for a while,

We broke away from our mostly plant food eating plan to celebrate in proper, God Bless the USA, style. Mike went to the store to look for no nitrate, no msg, no hormone, all beef hot dogs (hot dogs and rolls taste so much better when you hardly ever eat them!) and devoured them with corn on the cob and watermelon.

Americans are often bored and dissatisfied unless something monumental is going on. I know. I was one of those. Once.

Going. Always going. Doing. Always doing. Restless. Wanting. Miserable.

Be careful of a mindset that says we must constantly do huge, exciting things to enjoy life.

It’s not true. Don’t fall for the lie.

Most of us have a lot of what we want and everything we need, so be thankful in the still and overlooked moments and, in spite of our troubles and problems, the blessing of living in the greatest nation on planet Earth.

If you’re out somewhere celebrating our American Independence today, enjoy. But don’t forget to take time to remember what you’re celebrating. And don’t forget to explain it to your children so they can develop a sense of significance and appreciation for the day. If the meaning behind this day is important to you it will be important to them as well.

The gift of freedom should never be undervalued nor should learning the art of contentment in going or staying, being or doing, having or wanting.

Don’t live out of the constant dissatisfaction of What Is Not. Instead discover the joy and fulfillment of living in What Is.

Right here.

And right now.

 

 

 

 

 

React or Respond – My Special Education, Lesson # 9

react-respondJon desperately needed a shower and shave. When I went in his room to vacuum and change his sheets, I took his iPad and told him he could have it back after he cleaned himself up.

“Why don’t you do that while I clean in here,” I said with a smile, “then everything about you will be clean and shiny today.”

He scowled at me and left the room.

I busied myself for the next hour picking up a variety of things from the floor: sticks, strings, marbles, batteries, dice and pens, throwing away piles of old paper he’d collected and organizing his DVD and VHS collection back on shelves.

When I went to check on him he was in our bathroom. I’m never thrilled about Jon in the master bath. He gets into all our stuff when he’s in there, but it’s the only bathroom in the house with a tub so we allow it from time to time.

Later that evening I noticed Mike’s electric shaver was missing along with my pearl necklace. I knew Jon had used the shaver since he emerged from our room with his caveman beard missing.

We looked in all the places he might have laid it down and didn’t find it so I knocked on his door.

“Jon, Dad’s shaver is missing and so is my pearl necklace. If you have them would you please set them outside your door? Dad needs his shaver before he leaves for work in the morning. I was going to give back your iPad but we need those things returned first”

He frowned, glared at the floor and when I left the room, threw a small object at the back of the door to emphasize his disapproval of my decision.

In the morning the shaver and the necklace were lying on the hall carpet in front of his door. I thanked him and returned his iPad.

Negotiating with Jon has become a survival skill I have learned over the years. He is slow and often resistant to respond to everything, including directives. The more he’s pushed, the further he retreats, so I need to remain firm, calm and wait him out.

When caring for someone long term, who needs help making good choices but doesn’t want it, choosing which battles to engage is important for sanity’s sake. Some aren’t worth fighting and others are tough to resolve no matter what. Then there are those days I know I won’t have the patience needed, so it’s best to avoid conflict, if possible.

Dealing with difficult people requires a good amount of tongue taming, self control and wisdom and all of us have plenty of opportunity to practice because we all have difficult people in our lives.

How we respond to them is usually more about us then them.

Because we are naturally selfish, anger is often the normal response. Our reaction is usually based, not on what will solve the problem, but how the other person is making us ‘feel’ at the moment.

What we say at such times and just as important, how we say it, reveals who we really are. A response of great character is described in Proverbs 15:1-2 & 4, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouths of fools pour out folly..a gentle tongue is a tree of life..”

Jesus was a master at responding to others instead of reacting. He knew exactly what to say in every situation and confrontation. He also knew when to be quiet and slip away. (John 12:49 “For I have not spoken on My own, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a command as to what I should say and what I should speak.”)

Can we begin to see the difficult folks in our lives as teachers instead of problems, opportunity for personal growth instead of someone to conquer, and a challenge to build strength of character instead of an irritation to curse? It’s certainly not easy to maintain this idea!

As we set our heart on the intentional practice of responding to others with grace, gentle words and quiet confidence, we find God gives us what we need to be changed from the inside out.

And as we pray for help to become less reactive to difficult situations and people, it becomes natural to keep a calmness and peace about us that others notice and desire.

Then we will “Be ready at any time to give a quiet and reverent answer to any man who wants a reason for the hope that you have within you..with gentleness and respect” (I Peter 3:15).

Slowly Going Nowhere

 

imageJon wanted to go out today. I asked him by question written on my cell phone note pad, if he’d like to go to the movies.

He typed back, “I do yes sir.”

That was affirmative enough so we drove to the theater, arriving at 3:50. The movie started at 4:40. At 5:00 we were still sitting in the car.

I don’t understand Jon’s thing about sitting in the car. Anytime we go anywhere he stays in the car. While people all around us drive in, hop out and are often back and leaving, he hasn’t even opened a door yet.

How do you make a flight or doctor’s appointment on time when the guy won’t get out of the car? When he was little I could unbuckle him, grab him and carry him, but he’s thirty four now. He should be carrying me. After all those years of dealing with his goofiness, I’m tired.

I knew it would take another half hour to get him in the building if he did get out of the car. By the time we bought tickets, popcorn and drinks the movie would be half over. Who wants to fork over a quarter of a week’s paycheck to see half a movie?

And anyway, I just didn’t have the patience for it all today, so I started the car, drove through McDonald’s to get him some dinner and came home.

He was another half hour sitting in the car once it was in the driveway. I put the seat back and took a nap.

We spent two and a half hours in the car today, going nowhere.

Some things in life you can never understand.