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.”
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.
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?
#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!