prepare to OPEN WINDOWS

I started watching Parenthood show, and am now addicted and watching the full episodes on Amazon instant movies – one of the many perks of my Amazon Prime account.  I believe I have seen an episode here and there before and vaguely remember that the one character, Max, has Aspergers (just as Samuel does).   My friend Renee had mentioned to me prior and I may have blocked this out because we live the story and I didn’t need to watch it too. But then I read a comment on Facebook about the show, and thought why not.  I was definitely not prepared for this observation, in some ways.  I started with Season 1 the Pilot and have worked my way through the first season.  I wept, and I mean weeped (and tears are still coming to my eyes), the day they got the diagnosis.  I remember that day… It broke my heart when Max asked the teacher to turn down the bubbles in the fish tank and they disregarded him and he broke the tank and HE got in trouble.  Or the time when kids called him names and he fought back and HE got in trouble.  In both instances, Max could not describe what happened to him.  I wondered… how many times similar things have happened for Sam!  I laughed when they were in the aisle at the store and they were searching for the chips in the one color of bag.  The father suggested saving an old bag and just pouring different chips in, and the mom said he knows.  I chuckled because I have tried that and it doesn’t work.   The list goes on – in fact, I may have to re-watch season one thru the end and write the list.  There have been moments in the show where I see Max do something and never realized the pattern in Sam because we see it everyday.  Being an outsider of that family, but sitting back looking in, has been awakening.  It is hard to realize that is very much like your family and that is what other people see when they see us.  It is hard to hear the mom talk about her worries and cry because they are the same as mine.  It is hard to watch the dad realize that he doesn’t have the typical son and slowly mourn that loss.  But it is empowering to watch techniques they use and go “oh my goodness, I never thought of that”.  It is empowering to watch the older sister’s relationship with her brother and realize that very inseparable relationship exists with Mary and Sam.  It is empowering to see the family have their problems, but in the end they are family and form an unbreakable bond.  I am an OUTSIDER looking IN at our family…

I went to pick up supper for work the other night and as I stood and waited for our meals, I observed a family of 4 – assuming it was Mom and Dad and two sons.  I was the OUTSIDER looking IN at a family.  The boys were rattling on about their day at school to each other.  They then started discussing games and Teenage mutant ninja turtles and Avengers.  I just smiled because I could only think that Sam would love to hang out with them.  Mom, was nicely dressed, possibly just coming from work.  Dad also was business casual.  Mom and Dad sat and literally focused on their food on their plates.  I only saw eye contact once to their boys, only because they asked at least 5 times for rice (every time politely) before ever acknowledging their requests.  They then gave small scoops of rice after saying next time to ask more quietly.  The boys resume talking to each other.  Mom and Dad do not talk to each other and do not engage in conversation with their children. I really want to scream at them and say, your boys have so much to say! Be thankful they can talk to you about their day!  Children with so much to say and no one to listen.  Fast forward their lives 10 years and their parents will wonder why they never talk to them.  For these parents, I will say it was not phones distracting them – which is often the issue in society and sometimes even in our home (sad but true).  But they still were definitely distracted and NOT engaged in their children’s lives.  I was an OUTSIDER looking IN and praying no one ever sees our family like that!

There are many stories like this.  Everyone has a life where an outsider is looking in, making judgments.  I think of many people in my life that on the outside they look like they have it all together on the surface.  But, I know them and are amazed that they are able to hold it all together!  They are truly my heros!   Some have said to me “they don’t know how I do it”.  I think it is because I am living the life and do not sit back and pretend to be an outsider and look into my life.  I think my life is “normal”.  Maybe that is something I need to do more often to my life.. sit back and look into it as an outsider.  What do people see?   I could easily look at my life simply by going back through my blog and Facebook posts. 

I believe as a Christian, the magnifying glass is even larger.  When people look at my life do they see Christ shine through?  My life is on display everyday. I never know who is sitting back looking at my family, like I observed the family at the restaurant.  Facebook is another place where we are constantly watched.  What do I put out there for people to judge me?  I truly believe that Facebook (and my blog), open a window to my life and invites people to be the OUTSIDER looking IN.  I try to think of that before I post things.  I may ask for prayer and say we have the flu, etc… Christians do have bad days, but in honor of being an overcomer, I need to change the open window.  I believe I can ask for prayers on bad days, but follow up with my belief that I will overcome either with a scripture or a quote.  Do I complain everyday about life not going as planned, or do people read my posts and feel blessed (not drained).  I am to be the light that OUTSIDERS look in and see.  Yes, I will have melt downs (i.e. my post the day that Samuel was bullied and we had to leave BK).  But, my intent was not only to voice my anger, but also for prayers for Sam, and to bring attention to a very big issue in society.  There are times I look into the Windows of people’s lives through Facebook and truly would say, if that is what a Christian’s life is like, full of woe and worry and feeling down, I don’t want that life!  I do not want to be the family of the people at the restaurant.  And when I look inside the Parenthood show, I see things I can do to improve our lives and things to totally to avoid.  I prepare to open the window of my life – through encounters in a restaurant, at work, on Facebook, etc… for the OUTSIDER to look IN.  What will they see?  I need be careful of the windows I open (and maybe need to clean a few)…

 In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father. Matthew 5:16

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