It’s A Swing Thing

D loves to swing.  Always has.  When he was still an infant I put one of those infant/toddler swings in the backyard and I would push him for what seemed like forever.  Then when D turned 2 he stopped going outside one winter.  He was going along just fine in the fall.  Then.  Nothing.  He was almost completely nonverbal at the time, so no matter how many times I tried to encourage him to go outside he wouldn’t.  And he didn’t have the words to explain.

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Then winter turned to spring and he began to go outside again.  And I thought it was just a phase and all over.

It wasn’t.

The very next winter the same thing happened.  One day I woke up to realize that it had been weeks since he’d been in the backyard.  An invitation to play was turned down.  At this point he had a few more words, but couldn’t seem to explain.  At one point he told me he didn’t like winter “because the noise the wind makes in the trees.”  I went outside to listen, but all I heard was silence.  Maybe that was it.

A was born in January.  That spring we all played outside and had a good time.  Ditto in the fall.  Then one day as winter approached I took A outside to the swing.  D had stopped going outside once again.  I thought when he saw how much fun A and I would have in the swing he want to come out with us.  What happened next was completely shocking.

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He panicked.  I was in the process of putting A in the swing when D ran out to us.  He frantically pulled on my jacket, shaking his head ‘no,’ mouth opened in a silent scream.  Confused, I implored him to play.  He ran inside, then back outside to me.  Finally speaking the words, “Hurt A.”  He pointed back to the door.  He was perfectly clear.  Something was going to hurt the baby.  We must go inside NOW!  Inside we went, immediately.

A few days later I stood at our back door, staring out at the backyard.  Suddenly, my eyes hit on the swing.  That was it!  It was the swing!  I told my husband to go take it down, right away.  And that WAS it.  He began going outside right away.

Since that day, his fear of swings has both worsened and clarified.  He still loves to swing. His fear is of empty swings, hanging and moving with the breeze.  It’s also of signs in the store and swing with movement of air.  The few times I take him to Kroger we must duck under those signs, to keep them from swinging.  Once he found one swinging, being blown by an air conditioner, I’m sure.  We quickly turned the corner, while I frantically told him over and over it was about to stop swinging.  His fear of things that swing is much worse in winter than summer.  And we tend to avoid playgrounds with swings, most especially in winter.

I call it what it is, an Irrational Fear.  It is part and parcel of his autism.  Autism, as always, had complicated a situation that shouldn’t be complicated.  It has stolen D’s peace.

A Time to Plant and a Time to Reap

It’s spring and my husband and I (well, mostly my husband) have made a small backyard garden.

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We plant in spring so we will have a garden full of vegetables in the summer and fall.  Then winter will come and everything will die and we will replant again next spring.  Happens every year.  A lot of people plant gardens in the spring, and we accept God’s timing in that.  Spring is for planting.  No one tries to plant a garden in the winter.

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But somehow, it’s harder to accept God’s timing in our life.

I didn’t meet my husband until I was 37.  There was a time that I would lament that I met him so late in life.  I would tell him that I wished we had met earlier, like in our 20s.  He, in his blunt way, would deny this idea and say, “No, you don’t.  I was a jerk.”  Over time I have begun to realize that God’s timing was perfect.  God has been working on my husband far longer than even he realizes.  I simply couldn’t meet him until he was ready for me.  If I had met him too soon, he would have been a “jerk” and it wouldn’t have worked.  I met my husband when God intended me to and, in return, I have a full, bountiful life.  Just like my garden will be in the summer.

 

So many of us don’t accept God’s timing.  We plant our gardens of life in the winter.  Then the frost comes, and we don’t understand why everything is so devastated.  If we had only waited for God’s timing, we would have a bountiful harvest, and instead we have reaped despair and heartbreak.

Yet those who wait for the Lord Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.  Isaiah 40:31

If I had insisted on rushing the Lord (trust me, I tried) and not waiting on His timing I would have married a “jerk” or even more tragically, married someone God didn’t intend for me to have.  I cannot imagine what my life would be like, because having a child with autism is stressful enough.

I abide in the Lord and He has poured His bounty into my life.  My cup runs over.  How amazing that He has been so faithful even when I have not.

Becky