Wednesday, July 30, 2014

"My boy" - a post from the archives

Here is another blog post from my archives:  this was written in July of 2012.


Yesterday I was very grumpy with Jonathan.  Everything he did and said (and how he did and said it) annoyed me, and I couldn't wait till he went to bed.  Then he got up twice AFTER going to bed.  It was hot and sticky and I felt so irritable with him I could hardly stand it or myself.

 This morning he went off to Extend-a-Family camp with a big smile on his face, and I got thinking about how, no matter what, I'm always eager to see him when 4:00 rolls around -- even though he immediately starts quizzing me about whether I've gone to the library and what we are having for supper and whether there will be a newspaper tomorrow and whether it's garbage day and whether he can have Cheesies for a snack and so on and so on.

 EAF camp has many special needs children -- some are verbal, some not; some are independently mobile, some not; some are social; some not.  Without actually comparing people (which is a waste of time), I can't help thinking of all the positive qualities Jonathan has:

- He is affectionate and friendly, not aloof or off in his own world.  He loves to snuggle.
- He takes pleasure in simple things and remembers those simple pleasures months and years after they happen (going for ice-cream with Grandma & Grandpa in PEI, going to McDonald's on the trip out east, doing a giant hockey puzzle at his cousins' house, having hot dogs and sausages at someone's house after church, etc.).
- He can communicate.  He understands everything said to him and verbalizes his own needs and ideas more and more clearly all the time.
- He holds no grudges and keeps no record of wrongs; he only remembers the good things.
- He treats everyone the same regardless of age, ability, or status.
- He is honest.  He never pretends or deceives.

 Anyone who is reading this probably already knows all this.  So really, I guess, I wrote it for me.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Monday morsel: "not some airy-fairy thing"

From The Book of Forgiving:  The Fourfold Path for Healing Ourselves and Our World by Desmond Tutu and Mpho Tutu:

Forgiveness is not some airy-fairy thing.  It has to do with the real world.  Healing and reconciliation are not magic spells.  They do not erase the reality of an injury.  To forgive is not to pretend that what happened did not happen.  Healing does not draw a veil over the hurt.  Rather, healing and reconciliation demand an honest reckoning.  For Christians, Jesus Christ sets the pattern for forgiveness and reconciliation.  He offered his betrayers forgiveness.  Jesus, the Son of God, could erase the signs of leprosy; heal those broken in body, mind, or spirit; and restore sight to the blind.  He must also have been able to obliterate the signs of the torture and death he endured.  But he chose not to erase that evidence.  After the resurrection, he appeared to his disciples.  In most instances, he showed them his wounds and his scars.  This is what healing demands.  Behavior that is hurtful, shameful, abusive, or demeaning must be brought into the fierce light of truth.  And truth can be brutal.  In fact, truth may exacerbate the hurt; it might make things worse.  But if we want real forgiveness and real healing, we must face the real injury.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

What a difference a year makes

Almost exactly one year ago I wrote this blog post, entitled "Behaviour is communication," about Jonathan's reaction to going into the church gym for lunch (after our picnic-in-the-park was rained out). Today the same thing happened -- it rained, so the picnic was held in the gym instead -- but this time it was totally different: Jonathan came into the gym, ate lunch, played some basketball, and seemed to enjoy himself. We don't always see the day-to-day progress, but sometimes when we look back on a few months or a year ago we are amazed to see how far we've come!

Here's Jonathan - not in the gym, but enjoying an Easter-egg hunt 
in Sunday School ("Upstreet") a few months back

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

"Money can't give you happiness" (a midweek morsel?)

I forgot to post a "Monday Morsel" this week:  what with going over details for next term's course, getting ready for my final set of assignments, and doing some worship-team planning, it completely slipped my mind.

So I thought that today I'd quote my hairdresser instead.  I've been going to Josie for about two years and besides liking how she cuts my hair, I really like her:  she's a quiet, humble person.  Today we were talking about someone who'd won fifty million dollars.  (Just sit back and think about that for a minute.  Fifty million.)

Then Josie said, "Money can't give you happiness.  Health, and being surrounded by nice people:  that's what makes you happy."


Thursday, July 17, 2014

"never mean" - a post from the archives

My friend Tim Fall was kind enough to say the other day how much he enjoyed the stories I tell about the kids.  So I thought I'd re-run this one (slightly edited) which I posted back in June of 2012, when Jonathan was nine years old.


Jonathan headed for the "yellow-blue-red" as usual today when we arrived at school.  His classmate Sam came over and took a few shots with the small yellow ball Jonathan had brought -- but he missed every shot.  Each time, Jonathan responded by saying, "So close!"  Sam laughed and said, "He says I suck."  I told Sam, "No, he's saying 'So close' -- Jonathan would never say you suck."

Afterward I got thinking about when Jonathan was in kindergarten and one of his classmates told her mom, "Jonathan is never mean."  To me that is a pretty good depiction of character, to have someone say that you are never mean or that you would never insult someone.  I know when I was nine, as Jonathan is now, other kids were sometimes mean to me -- and I was sometimes mean to other kids.  I remember refusing to hold a certain girl's hand when we were playing a game because she was very fat.  I still remember the look my teacher gave me.  She didn't have to say a word; the expression on her face said it all: "BUSTED."

I don't think that (most of the time) we should condemn ourselves for what we did when we were nine.  We're far more responsible for the things we do when we're nineteen, or twenty-nine, or ninety-nine, and our meannesses at those ages are likely a lot more serious.  But the thing is with Jonathan:  he will probably still not be mean when he is nineteen, or twenty-nine, or whatever.  He doesn't have that tendency most of us have (or develop) that makes us judge people according to their skills, or their weight, or their appearance, or their status.  Everyone in his world is a friend -- and not just the garbage truck guys, either.  And if that's how you see the world, how can you be mean?

Sam, you don't suck ... you're close.  Really close.