Getting To the Other Side

I can raise my hands in the air like I just don’t care. Mostly because I’ve learned, after 40 some years of life that it doesn’t matter much what the person next to me thinks about me. In fact, I’m a firm believer in the adage that what others think of me is none of my business.

We’re trying desperately to get Sweetboy to own that mindset, too. The one of not caring what others think of him.

Recently I pulled on my Smart Mama pants and told him how one of the most comforting verses to me, in all of the Bible, is where we are told that people look at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart.

He was only mildly comforted.

It did, however, distract him. And so, he started perseverating on his looks.

Oh joy.

“But, mama, people are looking at me and seeing my stupid autism!”

Sigh.

I reminded this Sweetboy of mine that it’s okay to detest his Autism. I detest pollen. And allergies. And horses. And clowns.

But, I also (while desperately trying to keep those Smart Mama pants hiked up) reminded him that detesting what is not good should drive us toward what is.

He wasn’t buying what I was selling.

Tempted to hang my head in parenting defeat, I was reminded that although we like to focus on the positive around here, sometimes… sometimes, we have to shine light on the negative to reveal it for what it is.

And, in this case, I recognized some of the hurtful comments from his classmates as Fear.

Seconds away from feeling a parental failure, I remembered that we struggle through the trials so that we can see the mind-blowing beauty on the other side. God’s great reveal, really, is how incredibly beautiful something can look from the other side.

The other side of awful-ugly.

Like, hurtful-ugly comments from preteens whose cheeks you’d like to squeeze clean off their faces. In love, of course.

So, I pulled up those pants and secured them with the belt of Truth. Particularly, 1 Samuel 18. We read through that whole chapter together. We uncovered some treasures.

The truth in this passage was that Jonathan, Saul’s son, found a friend in David, the soon-to-be-king that Jonathan’s father detested. I’m speculating here, out of the ugliness of Saul’s hatred for David came a beautiful realization for Jonathan.

You see, during those dark times, Saul was certainly not pleasant to be around. And, I’m guessing that Jonathan quickly realized, to his relief, that he was not alone. That David, too, suffered the wrath of Saul.

As I shared this story, afresh, with my Sweetboy, I saw light begin to spread through his eyes.

I then relayed that infamous incident during my fifth grade year where I was the recipient of cruel comments because I was the only one who hadn’t shaved my legs yet. The cutting remarks nicked worse than any razor blade ever would.

But, I found a friend, that year. We commiserated during gym about being the only two girls, surely, in the history of ever, whose cruel parents kept them from fitting in.

Miraculously, just as God likes it, grace washed over Sweetboy’s face as he realized that he and his two best buddies had each other. That he wasn’t the only one to be at the receiving end of spew from Jealousy.

“I’m glad I have a possie, mama. They get me.”

Yes indeedy, child.

He realized that he isn’t the only one.

Neither are you.

Nor am I.

And that, friends, is a beautiful truth on the other side.

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Five Reasons I Don’t Jump to the Comments

Social Media and blogging accomplish much. For me, it provides opportunities for connection as a writer, as a Believer, as a Mother of an atypical kid on the Autism Spectrum, and as a Bama’ Alumnus. My interactions with people online have led to forming some mighty strong bonds of friendship – friendships that have only been encouraged to grow, as I’ve been able to meet some of these people in real life, over the years.

But…

I’ve learned that there is also dark side to the Internets.

It’s found in the comments and replies.

While there is a beautiful place for comments that encourage and support, and even question, it is one that needs to be entered with Light. With all The Light within.

Here are just five reasons why I choose not to jump to the comments, in some places.

1. If the article, post, or tweet is even remotely precocious, the comments are extreme. Extreme makes me break out in hives.

2. Comments on an inflammatory issue rarely include facts. And when they do, they are often absent of the grace that laces productive conversations. Grace, like oxygen, seems to be sucked right out of the environment. I like grace. I need oxygen.

3. As, quite possibly, El Presidente`of The Feelers Club, my emotions can run high all by themselves. And when my emotions start outrunning the facts, voila`! My already limited ability to be tactful or sensitive in certain situations is quashed. It’s not pretty. I’m not pretty.

4. Have you ever gotten into a commenting war with someone presenting the other side, and gotten to the end and said to yourself, “Why yes! That was the best 3 hours of my life!” Me either.

5. Every time I encounter a commenting hater, “Shake It Off“, by Taylor Swift, is stuck in my head for far too long. Touche` haters. Touche`.

This doesn’t mean that there is no place for comments. Or for debate. Lord knows that I love a good healthy debate! And, here, in this space, I’ve only encountered encouraging, helpful, and graceful comments. (And made more than a few life-long friends, in the deal!)

It does mean, however, that I will often read a piece written by one of the Internets and either jump down to my reply space to encourage or question the writer, or walk away considering it further. Because, the older I get, the more wisdom I find in these truths:

They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions” 1 Timothy 6:4 (NIV)

“But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless.” Titus 3:9 (ESV)

“Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights.” 2 Timothy 2:23 (NLT)

Those are some good Words, right there.

I’m sure you could add a reason, or four, that I’ve never even considered. And that is one of the many beautiful benefits of the commenting areas.

But, maybe that’s a post for another day.

Yes indeedy.