Jack picks up his bowl of spaghetti and dumps it on his head.
“Jack,” I say calmly. “Are you supposed to put spaghetti on your head or in your tummy?”
He stares at me blankly.
“In your tummy buddy, in your tummy,” I answer. “Come on. Let’s clean this up together.”
Jack pulls spaghetti from his hair and the floor, and piles it on the kitchen counter. I scoop it up and empty it in the sink.
“No! No! Spaghetti does NOT go in the sink! Put the noodles back in the bowl Mommy!” he screams.
“It’s ok, buddy. Those noodles are dirty. I’ll get you some new noodles. How about that?” I grab the tongs from the counter, scoop fresh noodles from the sieve, and put them in his bowl. I smile. “Here ya go!”
“No! No! NO! Put the noodles back in the bowl! Noodles back in the bowl! Noodles back in the bowl!” Like a dusty record, Jack’s thoughts stick, his words repeat.
I stand over the sink, look at the soggy noodles in the drain, and silently curse their existence.
Frantic, Jack grabs a step stool and climbs to fish the noodles out of the drain.
“Jack, just take a deep breath buddy.”
“No! Nooo! Noodles BACK IN THE BOWL! Noodles BACK IN THE BOWL!”
I try to follow my own advice and draw in a deep breath, but my lungs only fill with frustration and exhale hot, stale air.
Jack begins to flail and scream. I coax him to a safe space where he can yell and kick without hurting himself.
I return to the sink and think somewhere tangled in this mess of noodles and autism and heartache is my dream. The one in which my son lives without torment, communicates effectively, and whose anxiety is alleviated.
I wait for my dream to surface from the spaghetti in my sink.
No dream. Just noodles and screaming from the next room.
When Jack finally calms down and settles in for the night I sit down and write.
Furiously clicking at the keys, words pour from my mind through my fingers. My heart flickers.
Maybe this is the God-sized dream.
This drive to write, to share, to bring words to the surface from noodles and autism and heartache.
This undying urge to bring something into the world that is what God desires.
This constant seeking to find Him in the fray.
This passion for finding a life of pain and tears and exhaustion wonderfully made by God.