Friday, March 30, 2007

Looking outward from autism.

How to look outward from the world of autism.
I hold a possible key=not one to magically unlock the puzzle, but maybe i can hold one piece from my experience to help someone who needs encouragement.

At times for a moment, I stand in a crowded room alone and don't want the interaction of others for that moment. I come to and out of that little moment. Yet those with autism are somehow stuck in that bubble and are unable to emerge from it. I only have experience from watching a documentary, but it is hard to get a real pulse of it since I am not face to face with experiencing it as some families are having to. Help me to understand Lord what it is like for those who suffer with it so I can reach out and minister to them as well..

A gathering for the child

This evening at our prayer and praise service, our church was packed with friends from other local churches and past attendees as well. Little Naomi has had an impact on the local community. I knew she has an impact but I did not realize that on a friday night, we would get such a good turnout of people for prayer, praise and fellowship. And to see people wearing the blue persevere bracelets on their arms for neiman picks disease=each united for the family. The final version of the poem- a modification of the last entry went well.
So here is the modified version which I want to share with the world and those that read it, please pray for Naomi and the hundreds that are affected by this disease on a daily and moment by moment basis.

Naomi's World

Upon the eternal sky of heaven, God has woven into place stars and planets.
And has made the moon and the earth.
Upon earth, He has crafted people and animals to share lives with each other.

God is at His loom weaving. Weaving stories of people's lives. Through hearthache and triumph.
From the very moment of birth, we see her being given a significant name-to hold her theme of life.
Naomi Grace Tyrrell. Biblical in theme. Naomi coming from the Hebrew meaning graceful and her name coming from the lineage of Ruth.
Later glancing out the window, we see a broken dream. To have and hold a healthy daughter.

Yet God is at the potter's wheel-fashioning His best creation for the world to see.
To see her gentle smile on a sunday morning and the devotion that she brings to her family. An encouragement and a sign of hope and joy.
God has woven this family together-each one a close-knit stitch mark,
a witness to the world.
a shining beacon of hope to those with Neiman Picks.
A welcome mat for Christ to stand upon.

Seeing little Naomi on the shoulders of her family. Let us see her as God sees her. Bless her eyes and hands and feet and soul.

Being in the midst of this world is not easy.
Hard to see those who lack sustanance and vitality.
Yet within the spirit, it is evident.
How God has nourished the vineyard of the Tyrrells and Greers.
How He sustains and Nourishes souls as well.

May God the weaver and spinner bless the tapestry that is being created today.
May He share the flaws and the beauty with all.
Not one stitch out of place or time.

Demonstrating that God is in control.
Praise be to God.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

A poem and living tribute to Naomi

Upon the eternal sky of heaven, God has woven into place stars and planets and made the moon and earth.
Upon the earth, mankind has been placed amongst the animals and each other.
Throughout life, God is at his loom weaving.
Weaving stories of people's lives and people's dreams.

Looking out a window, we see a broken dream at first. To have and to nourish a healthy daughter.
Dreams dashed to the rocks.
an interruption to the continuance of peace.

Yet a look closer to this picture, we see a family drawn closer to prayer and to the Word of God and His people.
A witness to the world=
A shining Beacon of hope to those with Neiman Picks.
A welcome mat for Christ to stand upon.
To gather His flock in dependence upon Him.

Being in the midst of this world is not easy. It is hard to see those who lack since I am one of those too.
But it is great to see how God provides. God sustains. Nourishes Souls.

The potter spins this clay upon the wheel. Making a pattern for Naomi and her family. Best suited for their use and ours as well.

May God bless us all as we look at her. Seeing her hands and feet and her soul and all her organs that God has knit together.
Not one little stitch out of place.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

In the midst of a puzzle

This coming week, my church is having a service for prayer and worship and fellowship for one of its young daughters with Neimann Picks disease and at the end of the week, The Kennedy center of Fairfield County is having a fundraiser to bring awareness to the autism epidemic facing clients at the Kennedy Center.

It is rough to see two disorders being promoted the sqme week-at which I will be a supporter. I find it very tough to spend time talking on the issues of handicaps since I have been fortunate enough to pass through the challenges gradually and in a way that has allowed me to comprehend the issues which are faced by those with such challenges. I have been blessed to be a part of a supportive family with my parents that took no to the repsonse of a doctor to put your child in an institution. But instead to place him in a supportive educational environment with some supportive learning help if needed and knowing there were times that challenges would be faced.

I at times want to distance myself from handicapped people but yet i am also drawn to and connected to them. On my sunday mornings, my friend, Gary Davis, is a member of my church. Not always easy to be a concerned friend but it acts as a good way for me to practice being Christ in the world. It is the grace and gentleness that he exhibits which shows the connection that he has to God. Just in the way he tackles the words of scripture-breathing them out- and showing a participation in the class through an astute comment or just a ready willingness to open our time in prayer. writing down the numbers of new friends that he meets so he can minister to their needs is an encouragement as well.

I find that the time invested in my friend Gary keeps me grounded in God knowing that I have to stay alert and focused. Even when a gentle nudge is required to rouse him from a brief nap during a message. Not easy to stay awake at times during the quieter non-interactive moments of time at church. There is something there to be learned to just be aware that I don't always focus on God. I tend to "doze off" in my own way of not being interactive in the Holy Scriptures as I should.

As I mentioned in some of my earlier pieces, our lives are like that of a puzzle where we do not always have our pieces that are clearly marked. Some have the imprint worn off of them, and sometimes we can not see how one piece is connected to another. It is good that the new website, has as its emblem a puzzle piece. In a puzzle, the picture is on the cover of the box and inside are many little pieces that have been carved from a piece of wood. How easily it is to connect those pieces depends on how well one can determine patterns, how well one works within groups and how well we stick it at. Always a good feeling to connect that last piece together.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

shared images of Naomi's world

wanting to make a contribution in the life of a very dear family in our church who has been struggling with a daughter having a disease that will probably shorten her life to not experience many of life's little blessings that others have had a chance.
As in the film TItanic, there is the saying at the end of one of the producers saying that after 3 years of being on the Titanic that he never let the meaning of it in for him.
It might be the same way with experiencing the uncertainty of an illness that is so seldom known or diagnosed that we do not have a chance to really live life. I have some experience on this side of my life having lived for 43 years with my handicap and how it has affected my family. I find it very hard at times to understand how this tapestry is woven, yet, it is woven by an expert loomsman who knows how our tangles are going to get unwound at the end. We may not know all the paths that the string will take in our lives. The loose string at times can get very knotty and hard to untangle. At times, feeling like leaving it on the floor to move on.....
But there is that drive within each one of us to make it stronger-by letting faith unglue the stuck parts and to make it a whole piece agaiin.

From having viewed, Walk the Line, on the life of Johnny and June Carter Cash. it is how lives can be brought together through a common theme and thread. It is this walk of faith that brings the loose bits together so that we can see suffering-whether it is a 4 year old daughter that needs to be held by her mom or dad, or pushed along in her stroller. Limiting in a way but also providing a window to a picture of God that is much deeper than a flannograph picture of Jesus calling to and reachng out to the little children.
Naomi is one of those little children so in need of the touch of the healing power of Christ. So this little piece is dedicated to her and her supportive family.

Friday, March 16, 2007

snow and ice

today was a real bitter cold day. It snowed and sleeted.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

staying the course.

This is a clarification from the last post that I made. My intention was to encourage those including myself that are on the faith journey to be more like Christ. It is hard to implement qualities of character. It is almost like that of growing seed from scratch. When the package of seeds gets opened up, there are these hard diagonal shards that have elements of life residing within them. I have been told that these seeds have to die before they come to life. How that happens is a mystery. I am no scientist in this regard. But the faith journey is the same way-in that we have to die to ourselves and the desires that are on the surface and surrender to God so He can meet those needs. We all just have to look for others on this journey and realize that Christ is a part of those journeyers as well. And to jump on the wagon and pursue lives of righteousness. Peace

Monday, March 12, 2007

something new

Getting back in the game of faith is not always easy. It can be tough to have the right attitude to do what is needed for the following day. It may not always be easy to be of good cheer knowing a 2-1/2 hour commute faces me and I have so much to accomplish in the coming week. But it is good to have done a bible study in the evening and to have answers reflecting the apostle paul's life and how he faced his hardships.
I tend to be a sunday christian who opens the Bible while at the church for a study at the particular day of the week. I do share my faith with my coworkers and some people on the bus. But I need to let God's word permeate my life so I can share from it and not just say i am reading the Bible for my study. I need to put Christ at the center of my life. And to have him there for my neighbors and to make Him an actual person that they see Him living through me.
My friend, Sean, at our monday mens group shared His walk with Jesus and how he is participating with Jesus and affecting the lives of others. That is dynamic christianity in action. I wish I modeled that more and was not just a sunday christian who opens up the Bible if I feel like it but I would love to be a daily Christian who walks with JESUS daily.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

A sprawling city

My part time city has been the Westfield CT Post shopping center. I arrive at this pit stop midway through my morning commute before I catch my third bus of the day.
When I first started my travels to the Milford mall, it was a manageable size. Åt that time, I waited in the lower level at door #6. It was in the hollowed out portion of the parking lot. Outside, there were several white concrete benches and to the side were tall bushes, shrubs and trees that had several birds flying by. Also, the food court in the mall used to be on the upper level and was called the Skyview Cafe. It gave an elevated view to the surroundings and I could see them as I rode on the glass elevator. Beneath was a fountain and shoppers walked around it as they went through the mall.

Then a few years later, the mall underwent an expansion with an increase in the number of stores and restaurants. This led to a sprawl of the mall and there was a wall separating the new wing as the construction workers and contractors diligently worked on it. As the project neared the end of its completion, there were slits made in the wall and I could see the finishing work of the tiles being laid down and the final touches of paint being applied to the walls. At that time, the Skyview Cafe closed down and boarded up with a new food court established in the new wing. Even with the completion of this wing, long standing restaurants such as Knickerbockers and Mrs. Fields cookies are boarded up for establishments to be born. Usually, it takes about 3 to 9 months before something new is conceived and brought to life. It can be a mystery at times as to what the replacement will be before the walls come down. On the temporary walls, nearby stores and restaurants and the mall management advertise their products and services against a white and red background in the theme "always something new".
In this process, Borders, Dicks sporting goods and Target were added along with a 13 screen cineplex. A far cry from the original town hall feeling of a few stores in a shorter distance.
At the entrance is nothing dramatic or grandiose. A good collection of clothing outlets and stores and specialty shops plus the department stores and restaurants. A cross section of society that I can see within a good climate.
Each morning, a swarm of workers in their uniforms of red and black accompanied with the circular logo of the Çonnecticut Post are stationed at each end of the mall. The floor sweepers operate their machines making laps throughout the mall swirling up the dirt and foot steps from the prior days. At times, they leave behind a trace of liquid from their blades. Their machines make a whirring sound that is constant and ryhtmic.
Workers clean each of the tall doors and windows with their pail and squeegies. They even have razor blades to scrape off the accumulated dirt and gum that get stuck to the floor and rugs by the doors. Then there are the shop owners who are behind their enclosed stores getting inventory restocked and organized for the day ahead.
The other morning this week several construction workers were walking in to the police substation being built in a "BYOB" mode. No liquor license has been granted yet for the cops so they had to bring in their own bricks. No excemption could be made for the mall yet I guess.

This city is in constant flux with the birth and death of stores and restaurants. I have seen several leave over the years. Usually, there is no major fanfare when a store goes except for the occassional sales to draw customers in. When the Barnes and Noble left the mall, there were huge discounts of 30 to 50% off the purchase. For this three month sale, I left the mall happy with several large bags of books.

I get to see several of the morning regulars-the power walkers who make it their daily routine to walk throughout the mall in groups. At several of the tables and chairs throughout the mall, I see their jackets that have been laid aside so they can walk freely throughout. Around several of their waists are their sweaters and several wear walkmans and ipods around them as they journey throughout. I occassionally see my friend, Marge, from church. Usually, she meanders later in the morning, but I saw her yesterday. One of the walkers knew where I lived when I mentioned it to him since he delivered gas to the building across the street from me. And I ran into a couple other friends the other day when shopping in which it was good to see them prior to their becoming parents.

The ngithtime crowd is a little different from the morning crowd. There are a lot of teens and youngsters that hang out at the mall then after they get out of school. They too travel in packs but in a less friendly atmosphere. The morning walkers always say hi and how are you doing. But this gang of kids don't always have manners and are off to the food court to get a snack or catch a movie.
One of the regular pit stops for me is Panera Bread for my favorite bagel, the Cinnamon Çrunch with its crusty bits of cinnamon batter clustered heavily on top. This cozy corner of the mall is a comfort to me and it helps to lessen the blow of an exhauting commute as I sit by the fire and enjoy the bagel along with the other patrons as well. Several workers from the Ace ambulance company come in for their morning pick-me-ups.

Never did I think that I would be spending a good portion of my week living in the CT Post mall but luckily never overnight as Tom Hanks did in the movie of the Terminal. Leaving the lit space ship with its neon red and white lights overhead as I await for the GBTA bus to leave for Bridgeport from door #5.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

The whole realm of Nature

In our service at church this morning, we sang as part of the communion , the great hymn, "When i survey the wondrous Cross by Isaac Watts. In one of the stanzas, he wrote
Were the whole realm of nature mine,
that were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

As those words were on the screen overhead and being sung by our congregation, it is realized that God can not be put in a box. It is very hard to fathom and control all of nature. It can be done in small ways, but it can be extremely difficult when the full fury of nature hits the land such as in Hurricane Katrina and other natural disasters. The vastness of the ocean's depth and breadth came to mind as I sang, were the whole realm of nature mine. It would be great to control all of it-=with its regularity of the tides coming in and out on a stable level each day=having a ryhthym that is constant and never changing. Yet in its simplicity, it carries much depth as a body of water. It sustains our earth and our lands are remarkably anchored and floating on these oceans. It is the very part of the air that we breathe.

The role of love acts as a contrast to this realm of nature. The present is way too small. It demands our totality. Just as the wise men at the time of Jesus' birth took a long time for their journey to give a representation of His nature, Easter is going to require a total sacrifice that demands all of us. So we can not just worship the creation-we must give ourselves totally in response to what Jesus has given us already. Praise be to God-the father of Our Lord Jesus.