There are times these days, with the sticky days of summer rolling on and on and all of the kids in the house, when I feel I'm talking, but no one is listening.
With Chloe, her "selective hearing" is a matter of defiance. She often doesn't WANT to hear what I have to say, so she avoids me and keeps doing what ever she's doing.
Anna does hear what I'm saying. But these days we tend to not have much in common, and I don't think she has too much interest in what I have to say. So I would say she listens politely.
And Ethan? Ethan is literally not listening. As in, most of the time this summer he spends in his own world. It's a world of coding, video games, facts he's learned from one of his giant fact books, or quotes from Captain Underpants. I can push and prod for him to leave his world, and he will, under protest. He has to be in the right mood. He has to be the one who feels like chatting. He has to have had enough screen time to leave him not cranky but not too much as to leave him insatiably craving more.
Sometimes, I feel it's only fair to give him a break. He has to be "on" all day, every day during the school year. Thanks to good reports from his teachers I know he does jolt himself out of his inner world during school hours. His desire to be a rule follower is too strong. But at home, he's free to be Ethan. And that means the autistic side comes out a little more.
I don't mind this. I'm thankful he has the ability to articulate that he doesn't feel like talking right now because he's thinking about a coding project. I don't take it personally. But these days, with every kid off in their own direction, with each one having a strong will, strong feelings, and varying obsessions and idiosyncracies that I feel I'm always tending to, sometimes I just wonder if anything I say is sinking in. I wish I didn't have to work so hard.
As I was thinking about that, I was wondering a little bit if that's how our Creator sees all of us. He longs to have a relationship with us. He longs to speak. He is speaking.
Are we listening?
Do we set our affections elsewhere? Do we run away in our minds to safer, more commonly tread places? Do we resist?
Yet still He longs for His people to have a relationship with Him...for us to not just see Him as the man with a beard wagging a finger at us from the clouds. I don't think He cares much for communication out of guilt and appeasement and obligation. I know it's kind of deflating when Ethan sighs, "FINE!" and rolls his eyes when we ask him to chat with us.
We find so many things to fill up our days and our moments and our minds. And still He pursues...still He speaks...still He waits for that moment when we might get out of our heads and our selves and listen.
Still He loves...
...as I will always love my children, through frustrations or when I wish they'd make different choices. Still I long for that connection. And like those days when, for instance, Ethan shares for the sake of sharing, not because he is coerced....in the moments those true connections are made, well, that is something fantastically beautiful.
Wednesday, July 25, 2018
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