Archive for July 2017

Live Now   Leave a comment

Live.

Live your life the best way you can.

Don’t spend most of your mental energy fixing it, making it conform to what you’ve been told it’s supposed to be.  Don’t always look to the future when you will have more energy or more time, after you get that promotion or get through that protocol or spend six months on that diet.

If you always look ahead to the goal, before you know it, you’ll be looking back on the last thirty years and wondering what happened.

Don’t wait to live it, because–

This is it.

Advertisements

Posted July 28, 2017 by swanatbagend in reflections

A Skeptical Christian   Leave a comment

I’ve discovered the purpose a skeptical Christian can serve.

You wouldn’t think there could be such a thing based on the image Christian subculture delivers.  Christians are cheerful, squeaky clean, devotion-doing, volunteering, doubt-free, perky people, right?

And God does model for us to be people of faith, to do justice, to love mercy, to walk humbly with our God.  In that description I don’t know if there is room for skepticism, negativity or disbelief.  Maybe if I followed Micah 6:8 more faithfully, I would be living so fully in the center of God’s purposes that I wouldn’t have time or reason to be skeptical in the first place.

However, there are plenty of places in the Bible where we see anger, disgust, despair, doubt, and dare I say it, even skepticism and cynicism.

So–yes, there is room and to spare for skeptical Christians in the kingdom of God.

But a purpose for a skeptical Christian?  I wasn’t sure about that until recently.

I had been praying for years for someone.  Let me explain what I mean.  I had been praying for years–but had prayed for years just to be praying, not really believing things would change.  In other words, I was a skeptic.

But when a transformation occurred in the person, and he stated that God had changed him, and nobody around him could contradict this, and when the evidence of a huge change was right in front of my face–I couldn’t deny that God had done it.

There’s no way it could have just happened.

I didn’t think anything could change.

I was wrong.

And now I can’t stop talking about it.

Posted July 26, 2017 by swanatbagend in identity

Tagged with

Mine   Leave a comment

I find many of the greatest frustrations I face involve projects or meetings or relationships which don’t turn out the way I have in mind.  When I have a project, I want it done right.  I have a vested interest in making it work well after all, because my name’s on it.

Maybe you’re a gardener.  Perhaps you’re having a real problem this year with Japanese beetles destroying your roses and blackberries. You’re doing everything you can to get those pests off the plants.  But the outcome is iffy because there are so many of them!  Your yard doesn’t look like you want it to and you’re the one who has to figure out a solution.

You may be walking your child through some new era in his life–getting ready for the college application process, learning to drive, overcoming a mental health issue or navigating hurdles at a job.  You’ve put uncounted months and years into helping your child.  You have a major interest in the outcome.  And you want that outcome to be one that is good.  Bottom line is, you feel responsible.  After all, this is your child.

Here’s where I think the English language falls short.

 

Can you think of a word to replace “my” in any of these phrases?

My house

My garden

My project

My ambition

My work

My child

My career

My health

My life

 

I haven’t been able to think of one yet.

What other word should there be, though, when I am the one doing the work to maintain the health, well-being and success of any of the above?

 

The problem is that I have confused responsibility with ownership.

I’m not the owner–I’m just the steward.

 

Posted July 18, 2017 by swanatbagend in identity, reality

Tagged with , , ,

Now   Leave a comment

For the past year, I’ve been telling myself I would have time to research and do advocacy about _fill in the blank_ when I’m done with the work I have to do today.

For the past five years, I’ve been telling myself my vision would get better when I got my thyroid medication regulated.

For the past ten years, I’ve been telling myself that after we are done with our school year, it will be summer, and summer will be totally and completely relaxing and things will be much less busy.

For the past fifteen years, I’ve been telling myself that if I just invested a bit more in the relationship or found the magic key to the person’s heart, that the relationship would be different.

For the past twenty years, I’ve been telling myself my fatigue would be resolved once I found the right combination of medication/diet/exercise/reduced busyness and stress.

 

I’m going to be turning fifty this Saturday.  I think I need to adjust my expectations.

 

I think what is really going on is that…

The sheer number of hours in a day is not going to expand nor will the problems people have decrease.

My vision is not going to get better.

Summer will continue to be busier than expected for the foreseeable future.

The relationship is not going to change.

I am not going to find a therapy or treatment that will completely solve my fatigue.  Some factors will get better, some will get worse, some won’t change.

And what I know now is

this is reality.

And–this is OK.

 

 

 

Posted July 13, 2017 by swanatbagend in reality

Stopping Time   Leave a comment

If only we could, we think.

If only we had the power to pause things right here, now, in this golden moment, when everything is perfect.

Haven’t you had moments like that?

I feel like, if I could just concentrate hard enough, just enjoy an afternoon fully enough, it would at least slow time down.  Or if I laugh louder when with friends, which is not hard to do, maybe that would make the evening be ten hours instead of just three.

It seems like it should be possible, but it never is.

I’ve tried a hundred times–but I never can.  Time only stops for a few seconds at a time, and it’s never me who stops it.  It always resumes and flows on toward the future.

What would it be like to be outside of time?

I guess, soon enough, we’ll know.

Posted July 11, 2017 by swanatbagend in reflections

Tagged with ,

Is your name Luigi?   Leave a comment

It’s not?

Are you sure?

The way you weave in and out of traffic, I wonder.

You changed lanes, pulling ahead of me through a closing, narrow gap between me and the semi-trailer just ahead to my left.  I’m not sure what your hurry is.

It seems like your rule when wanting to pass someone is that you should never have to touch the brake.  Keeping your cruise control engaged at all times is essential to the safety of your convenience.  You approach me from behind when I’m in the left lane, doing my best to pass the semi-trailer on my right in an expedient fashion, but unwilling to drive 85 miles per hour in these weather conditions.  Then you stay two molecules from my rear bumper.

Have you never been rear ended?

And then once you pass me you pull in immediately, so that I have no safe following distance.

Or, if I have left following distance in heavy traffic, you assume my following distance is your opening.  When you slip in there, thus allowing me .25 seconds for my vehicle to come to a full stop at highway speeds should you need to stop, you defy the laws of physics.

I promise, when I run into you, your vehicle will not reform in 3 seconds and continue happily down the track while Yoshi and Mario pass by.

Posted July 7, 2017 by swanatbagend in pet peeves

Tagged with

I Never Thought I’d See This   Leave a comment

What a glorious night!

We were at the theater, an older, slightly worn, but very classy one near our city’s downtown.  The lights went down.  The story and music began and I was as entranced as I could be.  Beauty and the Beast has always been one of the best Disney movies ever.  It’s a story in which more than one character is transformed by the events of the story and by love.

By the end of the show, when the cast took their curtain calls, cleared the sets and headed for IHOP to ride the wave of adrenaline, I was
riding it with them.

Remember the line from My Fair Lady?  “I could have danced all night, and still have begged for more…I’ll never know what made me so excited, why all at once my heart took flight!”

Well, unlike Eliza Doolittle, I knew exactly why I was so excited.

My child with an autism spectrum diagnosis was on the stage, acting, dancing and singing.

In those few hours, amidst the emotions that flooded me, came one that has been uncommon: hope.

Why?

Before my eyes was the proof that his life for the past ten years, my life, our lives together were not destined to continue status quo.

I wouldn’t have believed it, even a few years before.  My life was circumscribed by the limits of what my son could handle and the number
of triggers he could cope with per day.

Our lives together were relatively simple, with relatively few outside activities for anyone, because between him and me, we could only handle
so much stress.

He went to occupational therapy because he had to and with a reward program to motivate him.

He went to a STEM class, which was OK because he liked the science topics and because I was with him.  He could never go to any group
activity without a parent to help maneuver the social situation.

He went to church with us because that was non-negotiable for me, but we modified our time there for him.  Most of the time, we didn’t even
try to have him participate in the children’s program after multiple days where he argued with and kicked the volunteer teachers, and we drove two
cars so my husband and I could take turns staying longer to visit or serve, while the other parent took our son and other children home.

He went to the homes of a few friends we had.  They came to our home and those times were usually fun and enjoyable, although there were also
misunderstandings that led to melt-downs.

If we invited a group of friends over, I had to be ready to de-fuse problems or take my son to his room for a cool down time.  I could
never, ever, ever anticipate a straightforward visit for me with other moms or a fun time for him with the other kids, because
invariably, some comment or event would make him either irritated and frustrated, or explosively angry.

There were months and years when I pretty much gave up on my life ever looking different.  We homeschooled and we stayed home a lot,
because that is what we could handle.

But — there he was on the stage.  All because a teen theater group’s director was willing to include him.  All because she had been led to
start the conservatory nineteen years earlier.  All because the environment was one of respect, care, professionalism and mutual growth.

All because God does amazing things.

Posted July 6, 2017 by swanatbagend in autism, homeschooling

Tagged with , ,