Saturday, January 28, 2012

Security Part 2.5 of 3: An Angry Sigh

- from Jeremy

I don't know if it's the same thing as worrying, or if it violates the admonition to think only on things that are true, but I've been running some scenarios around my head and it's disquieting. I know how people are. I know how much they assume about other people, how they impose their own perspective on others actions and how they project their preconceptions onto reality. I know that my motives and shortcomings will be judged without any rebuttal from me, even if no one but me knows my motives and even if my perceived shortcomings are beyond my control. So what will people think if or when my kid gets run over in the street in front of my house?

There were ten security things I wanted to post here, and I crossed three off my list in Part 1 and four more in Part 2, leaving for today's post the door chains, the special gate latch and the lock on the TV cabinet. Oddly enough, we had a breach yesterday involving two of those three. I left the house early with Jo and the baby to run to Walmart for wipes and snacks. The oldest two kids were at school. Christy went to the restroom leaving Jalen in the living room swinging. A moment or two passed. There was an urgent beating on the front door. When Christy opened the door a woman was standing on the porch with Jalen whom she had found playing in a puddle in the road a couple of doors down. Her minivan was idling in the street where she stopped it. She was undoubtedly troubled at finding a small, wordless child in just a diaper splashing in the water at the bottom of a sweeping, downhill, right-hand curve of asphalt. She did us a genuine kindness in bringing him home. We were fortunate that it was someone who's kids have visited Jack and Liv here and knew that Jalen belonged at this house. It could have gone much worse in many ways.

It's worth pointing out that none of us have ever seen Jalen unlock and then open the back door before. I've seen him playing with the knob lock on that door, and I've seen him unlock the deadbolt on the front door, but it takes some torque to get that back deadbolt to turn. And I would've bet money that he couldn't get them open even if it was unlocked. It's French doors and there's a good bit of pressure on them, to make a good seal I suppose. Olivia has to put some oomph in it to get it open, and Jalen is half her size. And how is it that he is so crafty, so opportunistic - he didn't try the door while I was home or while Christy was in the kitchen making lunches or while she was in the living room getting Jo dressed. He saw that she was out of the room and he was out of her sight and he made a break for it. It's also worth pointing out that the puddle he was in is about halfway between our yard and the neighbor's pool. And as far as I've been told, the number one cause of death for Autistic children is drowning. What if there had been no puddle for him to be distracted by?

And we can go from that "what if" to a lot more of them. As I said, a lot of disquieting hypothetical scenarios are born from a scare like this. What if he'd gone to the right out of the yard? Rogers Road is just four doors up. The cars go pretty fast down Rogers Road, and it's not just our neighbors that use it. What if he'd been hit? What are the odds for a forty pound pedestrian against a two thousand pound automobile - even at twenty or twenty-five miles an hour? What if the person hadn't known of us? What if they'd taken him? What if they'd called the police? The police are not the arbiters of justice, they are not the ones who decide if a child has been injured due to negligence, they are the ones who put the child in protective custody and the parents in jail until such things can be decided. What if we couldn't explain how smart and sly Jalen is when he appears so vacant and clumsy? What if we couldn't convey our genuine surprise at him being gone since he's been gone before? What would people say we should have done? Maybe not to our face, but in their homes and over their meals with friends and when they tell the story at work or in the church hallway - what will they assume? They'll feel bad for us, but what will they question about the way it happened? Which of our many minor shortcomings will be cast in a new light by some major perceived failure? And on and on.

It's a short trip from this kind of speculation to out and out fear. A lot of times we call fear by it's cousin's name: worry. But it's still fear, and fear is the opposite of faith. Both of them are attempts at seeing the future, but fear reaches toward the future expecting to find something bad whereas faith expects something good. I learned that from Zig Ziglar. Faith is not an unreasoning optimism or a carefree ignorance. It learns from experience and adapts to the struggle. Faith says a prayer of thanksgiving that something worse didn't happen and then steps-up its game to make sure something worse doesn't. And faith expects that if it learns from this present trial, then there is nothing of it to fear in the future. Faith hears the "what ifs" and responds with a reminder of what is - that God has been good to this family every single day.

I'll be back with part 3.


  1. Jeremy, I wish that I could express myself this well. Thank you for the last paragraph. A friend and I were discussing this very thing this afternoon, and I'm going to share this with her in just a few minutes.
    God is good to our families, even when we are short on faith. Thank God for the community He gives in His body. Hopefully I community that will love wisely and not judgmentally, will pray for us when we are weak, will reassure us when we fear and will remind us of what is true.
    Praying for the Verrois! Love y'all!

  2. Jeremy,

    Thanks for another good post. You write so well, and give others an insight into the challenges you face, which are unlike those that most of us deal with. Yet, in another sense, they are similar, since every trial for the Christian is really a trial of faith, whether we will trust God and believe His Word, or focus on self and others intead.

    And CristyLynn, thanks for your reply, which is so encouraging. I'm praying for both the Verroi's and the Slawsons.

    Pastor B


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