Thursday, February 19, 2015

Challenges on the First Day of Lent

Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent.  This year I am trying to observe Lent more closely than normal.  Yesterday I wrote about my decision to give up parts of social media.  I will not click on any links that are frivolous.  I waste too much time and get sucked into mindless hype on the internet.

I hate it.  I hate that moment when I realize I just lost an hour or even just ten minutes of my life on drivel.  I hate that I spent time and energy on so called information that adds nothing to my life.  No new knowledge of any importance and often is just gossip.

We all need mindless distractions now and then.  Our brains need to be allowed to wander and process information.  I just want to be mindful of how and when I do this.  I call it "brain candy", a treat for my brain allowing it to not be serious for a while.  Instead of wasting time on the internet, I would rather sort my beads or read romances.  Neither one takes much brain power and they relax me.

Today, I was successful at avoiding the tempting links.  Only a few gave me pause.  I really wanted to find out what the article had to say about the Harry Potter books.  I did click on a few news articles but stayed away from the fluff.  When Dr. Chris Stringer tweets an article about hominid fossils, I want to know what it says.  I think I will make a list of the links that seriously tempt me.  After Easter, I will look them up if they still sound interesting.

A more serious challenge involved lunch, the Women's Lenten Luncheon.   I almost didn't go.  The frigid weather and snowy roads would be a reasonable excuse.  I don't like going places by myself when I know people there.  I would rather walk into a room full of strangers than a room filled with acquaintances and "friends".  What if I can't find a welcoming face?

A good friend was meeting me there.  So, I went.  I only panicked for a few minutes while I scanned the room filled with women.  She was there and had saved a spot for me.  Panic attack averted...until the speaker began.

 The speaker recently began an inclusive Gentle Worship program in our town.  She explained her background, seminary and a child with autism.   In listening to her story, I realized just how different our approaches to our sons' disabilities were.  I have been reflecting on these differences all afernoon.

I cannot yet put all of these thoughts into coherent sentences.

Basically, there are two ways to view a disability like autism.  Change the world or change the child.  I would love to change the world but I can't.  I can and did work to improve my child's behavior so that he could be in the world as much as possible.

One of the examples the speaker mentioned included a reference to her son's need for sameness, sitting in the same pew at church every week.  Change and transitions are extraordinarily hard for people with autism.  I saw this as a challenge.  I forced change in my son's life.  If I saw a routine becoming fixed, I forced a change.  Brush his teeth before his bath instead of after.  I rearranged furnture.  I tried to not be too predicatable.  Variation with a routine or same yet different became my moto.

Life is not consistent.  It is unpredictable.  Changes need to be tolerated.  We worked on this everyday until....we didn't need to anymore.

Like I said, my thoughts are still a jumble.