#blogtown What’s the Latin word for exasperation?

Don’t fill my comments with “exacerbatio” just yet. I’m not really here to talk about cognates.

I had a hard morning that turned out beautifully, if differently, than I expected. We had one child on verge of meltdown whose ramping up to meltdown sensory dysregulation made us late for church despite everything and everyone else being ready in time. Then another child had a nosebleed on the way to church and refused to enter the parish hall to get cleaned up out of an overzealous respect for the “no blood in church” rule. Then the one in pre-meltdown exploded, which caused another one to lose it and start hitting the one screaming, and then the nosebleed kid cried for a long time, and a fourth child melted down for good measure. Thank God for my classroom, where we were able to safely calm the kids down!!! (If you ever wonder why autistic kids need a calm SPACE, not calm “time,” let this be a lesson)

We were able to send my husband and oldest child to the remainder of the Divine Liturgy, and I wound up spending the service on Autism Support Duty. It took a few false starts, but the kids all really wanted to be in church and to stay and have class after church. It was important to figure it out. I had a difficult time redirecting one of the kids at first, and we had a few moments where I was very uncomfortable and had a sense of intractable communication failure. Eventually what worked was building tiny cubby houses out of the blocks and mats around the overwhelmed kids. Then it got pretty amazing.

My cubbied oldest daughter read the children’s Bible in her cubby for 15 minutes and came out a renewed and regulated kid. My little melters-down both got calm even sooner. I sang, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble,” and, “Thou hast been our dwelling place from generation to generation.” I said, “Don’t be afraid. When you meltdown and need a little house, God is already your house. He’s with you to help you in your cubby.”

The cozy reading cubby. I administered snacks through a gap in the blocks.

I gave everyone snacks. I offered tap lights to the ones with a cloth over their cubbies.

By the time the first little knock announced the other class members arriving, I had a room covered in empty cubbies, their risen members ready to learn.

We wound up having a really good lesson around the sensory table, where the kids took turns naming things that make it hard for them to see God sometimes (not wanting to go to church/Sunday school, being hungry, fighting with their brothers, getting distracted by the teacher’s hair, OCD, toys, being overwhelmed, forgetting things, getting hurt, and other things), then spraying shaving cream on the water. After each addition of fog, the child whose turn it was got to add a light. Does it still shine? Yes! (And so on until we ran out of shaving cream.) At the end, the foggy water was filled with shining lights. Not even one had stopped shining.

The kids were amazingly insightful today. Here are some of them with the foggy water and shining lights.

As I reflected on the morning in my Sunday afternoon silence, I kept thinking back to the time I observed my husband’s icon introduction table at our festival’s church tour. A gentleman asked, “What’s the Greek word for iconography?” Everyone laughed at the response, because of course it’s almost exactly the same as its English derivative.

I’ve learned to ask why when these random thoughts lit with mercy pop in my head. I’m writing to tell you why that came to mind. The reality of the faith, the living of it, makes the words make sense across all languages and language barriers. It’s why we seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, to the Living Word that is the light and the life of all people, the light that shines in the darkness and is never overtaken by night, instead of clinging to a dry word without meaning like a dry bone.

Today’s Gospel reminded us, “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light.” Here is the question that I have at the end of this day:

What’s the autistic word for Resurrection?

The Resurrection icon.

#bloginstead has grown into #blogtown I’ll tag my daily reflection posts with those tags, but they’ll only stick to the top of my blog for a day or two. Follow my blog to read the most recent posts in a reader. I’m making my rounds to read the blogs I discovered during the #bloginstead challenge, and it’s been a great relief. I’m watching Snow White with the kids, and there’s this scene after the huntsman releases Snow where she’s running scared through the forest, imagining ill intent in trees and eyes around her. Then she gets to a clearing, and it turns out that the eyes are those of cute and friendly little bunnies, chipmunks, deer, birds, and rabbits. I’m feeling that tonight with the new community of bloggers and some calming conversations with my writing friends The Thinklings. After slogging through a couple of years of being harassed online, I had started to imagine hostility where there was none. But, nope. It’s bunnies, y’all. Real, kind, friendly human discourse. Thank God!

11 thoughts on “#blogtown What’s the Latin word for exasperation?”

  1. I’ve just been asked to substitute teach Sunday School (preK/K). Your previous post talked about marbles & archangel icons. Do your book(s) provide practical suggestions for Sunday School classes?

    1. Yes! Read the middle sections of my book, Of Such is the Kingdom: A Practical Theology of Disability for an overview. I’m working on a curriculum company as well so I can get full sets of instructions and lessons and tips out to people as soon as possible. In the meantime, I have a hashtag on Instagram, #accessiblechurchschool with some lessons and advice and examples. Check the Special Needs Resources page on this site (summerKinard.com) for a list that includes posts with some free lessons as well.

  2. We had one child meltdown before church that nearly made us late. I managed to remain relatively calm. On the way I pointed out that the tops of the really tall buildings next to the interstate were shrouded in fog: “where did the tops go? Did they forget to put on the tops of the buildings this morning?!” To my gratitude I saw in the rear view mirror the melted child laughing with delight over the absurdity.

    During the anaphora the youngest started getting overexcited and started hitting with her stuffed dog. Redirecting failed and she started to escalate so I picked her up and retreated to the office in the hall. I barricaded the door by sitting in front of it and let her get it all out. Eventually she got in my lap and nodded yes, she wanted to go back to church. We made it to communion, amazingly.

    While sitting in front of the door fending off little hands and screams, I considered going home. Then I realized it was only because I wanted the easy way out. [There have been times I wisely left.] I apologized silently to God and took a deep breath and resettled to sit it out. Within a few minutes she had calmed down on her own.

    Sometimes it’s hard for me to separate my own anxiety in the face of noise from their distress and be the unruffled, strong one. Thank God for His mercies.

      1. There’s a certain level, pitch, and duration of noise that makes my brain stop working. It is truly an ascetical struggle not to lose my temper or run away at that point.

    1. What I commented to Summer applies to you as well. Amazed by the love and self-sacrifice of good moms and dads. Praying for you!

  3. Oh, you make it easy to comment! Thank you! This was lovely, and I needed to read it. Great good can come from a hot mess! I just have to keep remembering that.

  4. Wow, what a morning. This not-a-mom is amazed at the love good parents pour into their kids, and the love God pours through and with and into good parents too … I’m praying for you and yours, and all the residents of Blogtown!

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