Thursday, March 3, 2011


"Let's go to McDonalds and play in the tunnels!" I announced to Ethan after picking him up from school.

"Yea!" he exclaimed. Sometimes I can tell even Ethan gets bored with coming home every day from school and eating the same peanut butter sandwich and staring at the same four walls.

At McDonalds we dealt with the usual things: there was the fear of the loud hand dryer in the bathroom, which has really ramped up in recent days. There was the facination with the automatic door that leads into the play area. There was my insistance that Ethan eat not just fries but nuggets (as if they're sooo nutritious) and then Ethan's initial reluctance to climb up to the tunnels. As is standard, he got up there and didn't want to come down the slide. "No shock! No shock!" he kept yelling as other kids his age giggled and clamored past him. Ethan has a thing about getting zapped by static electricity.

If he can make it down the slide today, that will be a victory, I thought. Then another voice chided that one. Who are you kidding? it asked. If he goes down the slide, you'll say victory would be playing with other kids. It's always something. You're always wanting him to do more.

Wanting Ethan to get out of his comfort zone and try new things certainly isn't bad, in itself. But always looking to the next thing instead of being at peace and also letting him enjoy where he is right now isn't ideal. In fact, it leads to much misery.

Different is not less, I reminded myself once again. When I did, I realized how much power was in the words. I realized that every time I get down when Ethan's not doing what other kids his age are doing, it is because I am subtly somewhere in the back of my mind believing that lie -- that different somehow implies not as valuable, as worthy of love, of God.

Later at home I thought about that Bible verse that refers to Christians as a "chosen generation, a peculiar people." Peculiar. When I looked up different versions of that verse, I found that other translations substitute the word peculiar with the phrase, "belonging to God."

I remembered a sermon our pastor preached years ago on that same passage, on the beauty of peculiar. "Picture a field full of daisies," he had said, "and right in the middle of it, not a dandelion sprouting up -- but a rose."

Each one of our ASD kids is undoubtedly peculiar. And each one undoubtedly belongs to God, undoubtedly is chosen.

Different is not less. God certainly does not think so.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

the beauty of peculiar - ilove that. and i so needed this perspective today! sometimes my girl's peculiarities (and her fixations) drive me crazy. thank you for reminding me that she belongs to God, that she is chosen, just as she is.