Saturday, September 24, 2011

And this is it

According to my stats this will be my 300th post. Actually it's likely much more; I've been known to delete posts after writing them if I deemed the writing unusually bad or nasty. See, untitled niece, I do know how to censor myself.

This blog started in 2005 and had its roots in a series of emails I sent to my friend Jennifer. She asked me a simple question- what did you like and dislike about the churches you've been to? I took her question and wrote four lengthy emails on the subject, likely more than she wanted to know, but it provided an outlet for me to articulate some of the feelings I had about some of my religious experiences.

It was not long afterward that I was contacted by a reporter for the local newspaper who was doing a story about bloggers in Elyria. Did I want my story in the newspaper? As a good attention-seeking man I said "oh, h*ll yeah". Not in so many words, but you get the gist. Seeing as how I was the only one willing to travel to the newspaper's offices to get my picture taken, my photo and blog were the lead in the story.

I continued to account for my travels and travails within the world of Christian churches, but eventually my story came to an end and I went on to different subjects. I took on the subject of why God allowed Hurricane Katrina via a stream-of-consciousness blog entry and was raked over the coals by a popular conservative evangelical blog. I dared to question whether a 13-year-old really heard God tell him to not celebrate his birthday because aborted babies didn't have a birthday, and was put on permanent ban by his father from ever commenting again.

And then came the subject that has consumed my life for eight years now- autism. My children are both autistic. Doesn't mean they draw real good, either. It means that while fathers and mothers get to take their children to soccer practice and leave them with babysitters while they catch dinner and a movie, my wife and I get to sit home and clean the poop off the walls. It means that while new parents rejoice in their child's first words, I'm still waiting. It's a disorder that pretty much takes over your life- because it has to. I can't not change my 11-year-old's diapers. I can't ignore the fact that my daughter will not be able to tell us when she has her first period, it will just happen, and we will be left to explain to a girl that can't understand why she's bleeding four days per month.

So I wrote about it. Started writing one morning as the kids were getting ready for school, posted right before the bus came, and then looked at it and said to myself, "This is good." Had the nerve to send the story right to the managing editor of the local newspaper, and soon I found myself with my first published writing. "A Father's Story" became part of a Sunday feature on autism, and I became some sort of fatherhood hero.

But I'm not a hero, I'm not a savior, forget what you're told. I'm just a man whose circumstances went beyond his control.

When people started reading my blog, some of them started getting upset. My wife's parents had people at church asking them if I had abandoned Christ. My mother would offer me subtle suggestions about what I should and should not write about. My former pastor's wife was offended by something I wrote but wouldn't tell me about it directly. And then writer's block set in. I didn't want to start flame wars among my relations, so I avoided certain topics, and that was my downfall. Sometimes you just have to write and let the pieces fall where they may.

So this blog is played out. I need something different to refresh my writing skills, I need to be able to take on topics such as racism and politics and steroids in baseball and the aberration that is OPS, and even cuss if I have to. If someone labels me as a lefty or a righty or a teenie-weenie-inbetweenie and doesn't want to talk to me, that's their problem. Not mine.

Ladies and gentlemen, take my advice. Take off your pants and slide on the ice.