Tuesday, August 31, 2010


I really appreciate all your nice messages. To be honest, I really didn't think anyone would notice if I left. It's true, I'm burned out, but it's not so much that I'm burned out with blogging. I'm just burned out in general. I'm rather depressed just now, to tell the truth. Partly it's because summer is ending, and maybe that change in the season is just having a bad effect on me. It's really been a lovely summer - so warm and pretty, and the garden has done great. Several time this last month, I've found myself consciously thinking, "I'm going to REMEMBER this summer," almost as if I'm afraid that something bad is about to happen, and I'll be happy someday to have these good memories. But I also had another birthday a few weeks ago, and I guess I'm starting to feel old - I'm 51 - and I'm becoming oppressed with fears about what will happen to the kids as Dean and I get older and less able to stand the constant burden of caring for them. People who don't have autistic kids don't realize how overwhilmingly REACTIVE your life is - it's barely possible to originate and carry out any plan, because all our time is taken up with responding to the incessant avalanche of demands. Anything you start is interrupted, usually with the sort of base needs a 2-year old would have: food, toilet, entertainment. Most people deal with a 2-year old for...well, a year or so; we've been dealing with them for over 15, and after a while it wears you down.

I don't usually talk much about the hard part of my life, but when I find myself frequently on the verge of tears, I think maybe I should ask some of you kind people to take the time to say a prayer for me. I don't ask for help much; hardly ever, actually,, but I'm feeling a bit low just now.

It's not that I disliked writing the blog; it's just that I've gotten into a pattern of thinking, "Oh, I really should write about that!... Well, I'm tired, I'll do it later...Drat it, now it's too late..." and I was simultaneously obsessing about my NOT writing, so I was both guilty about not doing it, and guilty about not doing it well.

But I don't want this all to be a downer; I had some pictures in my camera I'd been meaning for a long time to post, but as usual I just didn't have the energy, so here they are:

This was the corn earlier this summer. We had a big storm a few weeks ago, and I think a sort of microburst came through a gap in the trees on the right, and blew over a number of stalks on that side. But most of the corn was really good.

This year I tried something new: two butternut squash plants. I planted them in front of the corn, but they grew and grew, so finally I had to resort to winding the plants through the rows of corn. In so doing, I unwittingly adopted one of the practices of the early native Indians; they used to grow squash in the space between the corn rows. So far I see 6 squashes on the vines; they keep producing flowers, but I don't think any more will develop - I doubt they'd have time to mature in the time left before the weather turns cold.

Here are our tomatoes, with a tall beanpole at the back - I built it myself, out of bamboo sticks and a weird tough vine that grows over the trees behind our fence. It's like a grapevine, and it's always straggling over onto our side of the fence. This was the first time I ever thought of a use for it - it's rather tough and woody, but has quite attractive curly tendrils that help the beans grab on.

A VERY attractive dragonfly I found sitting on the netting covering the blueberries one morning. The picture doesn't do him justice; he was a very brilliant green velvet.

We've had other garden visitors this summer; I saw a small rabbit one morning, but they've pretty much left our garden alone this year. A few days ago there was a story in the paper about how Monarch Butterflies are no longer around in Ottawa, because so much of our wilderness area has been cut down, taking with it the plants they like best. One of those plants is Joe Pye Weed, which I've grown for years. Lo and behold, two days later, I saw Monarch Butterflies feeding on them, and they stayed around for several days; I saw one or two yesterday, as a matter of fact, but for a couple of days, they were having a regular party.

At one point, about 6 were out there, and when Dean and Emma and I went out to look at them, they left the Joe Pye Weed and began fluttering around over US! I said I thought they were actually trying to drive us away from their food supply! Just try to imagine half a dozen butterflies trying to look menacing! We also had a garter snake this summer, but he was so sneaky I was never ready with a camera to take a picture of him.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course I'll add you to my prayers. I know our Father knows who I mean, but could you please give us you Christian name. It will be so much more meaningful to pray for a person rather than a pseudonym.
I cared for my husband and my mother in their last illnesses one year. Not the same as your situation other than the emotional exhaustion that seems inescapable at times. Hold on to the promise that God does not send us more than we can handle. Some times it is all we have, but God's grace IS enough.

1:42 pm  
Blogger Dr. Mabuse said...

Of course! It's Wanda. And thanks.

2:47 pm  
Blogger Pascal Fervor said...

Hi. So far I've been spam blocked (AGAIN!) from responding to you at BC. So I'll try here since I couldn't locate your email address.

Dr. Mabuse. Interestingly, in my own way I addressed Prof. Lewis' concern in "And What If That Soul Is Really Lost?" where I speak of a need for balance.

But first, in Prof. Lewis' analogy, we had evidence that called into question the original story, and we had a choice of accepting that evidence or clinging to the original story. It was the motive for clinging that was raising a red flag.

In my case, I returned to Wretchard's initial cautionary opinion, forcing to admit that I may have been too Pollyanna in my own opinion towards Mr. Crook. I did that even though I was surrounded by opinions that agreed with me. That runs contrary to a most common failing of human nature.

We humans tend not to admit our errors in judgment, and that surely has something to do with what generates the hatred of which Lewis warned. (Its more famous form can be found in "hating the messenger.") If unthinking hatred is bad, surely hatred that stems from vanity is even worse. Here I went against my own vanity and thought of the dangers posed by not sharing with fellow BCers my second thoughts.

I switched my opinion because of my concern about the now openly scornful behavior of our Conditioners -- something which Prof. Lewis was so concerned over, he not only published his three exhorting lectures as in one bound volume, he wrote a three-part novel to bring the threat alive.

We need to seek the rational precisely because our Conditioners have built a educational system designed to incline us toward the irrational.
Now here is what I wrote regarding our need for balance.

"What I'm talking about today is our need to think twice before will succumb to our earnest desire to project our decency on they who are not (do unto others as thou would have done to thee) so as to better balance that with our need to reward and withhold reward based on merit. For where we are too lax in assuring there is balance, we should not be surprised to find ourselves up to our eyeballs in a muck that is the consequences of demerit after demerit overlooked." [Emphasis added to highlight why I needed to reply.]

8:50 pm  
Blogger Pascal Fervor said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8:51 pm  
Blogger Pascal Fervor said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8:52 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Wanda
I was driving home this afternoon in the borrowed car which has no AM Radio. I was listening to the only station that came in clearly enough o hear. I tell you this because i is not a station I would have chosen to tune into. I'm beginning to believe it was tuned for me. The station was KBVM - the only Catholic station here. A nun was speaking to you. She reminded me that God gives us purposes that we don't always understand, realize, or even want. Ours is to learn to pray for the discernment and accept what he sends for us to do.
I have to admit what she said really touched me and I just began to cry. Silly me. But I felt she was letting me hear this so I could encourage you to have faith and embrace this burden as your gift. God sent those children, not to someone who couldn't persevere and accept the challenge, but to you who was prepared with the strength He had given you through Grace.
I shall continue to pray for you that you will continue to know the grace and peace of God.
With love

8:57 pm  
Anonymous Joyce Carlson said...

Hi Dr. Mabuse.
I will notice and be sad if you aren't writing. I check weekly to see what you might have to say, because you write about such interesting things--like the menace of a batch of butterflies for instance. But I don't say this to put any pressure on you. Just so you know that I appreciate your point of view very much. And I will remember you in my prayers.

11:19 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Dr. Mabuse, Wanda,

wow. I will pray for you some more. I do pray for you from time to time. I'm ashamed to say that I often complain about my own relatively normal family for all the reasons you listed - the interruptions and so forth, not being able to do anything but react to the incessant drama, demands,needs.
In your case all those things are real and enduring. I don't have anything wise to say. I'll just pray for you, for hope, for the Lord's provision for your children and that you will be brought out into a large place (I think David puts it that way in the psalms sometimes)
I hope you can take a break and get refueled. It seems to me you have been doing an amazing job.


7:37 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Dr. Mabuse,

I have added you to my daily prayers.

A reader

8:36 pm  
Blogger Charlie Sutton said...

I have enjoyed your humor and your penetrating insights for years - often they went hand in hand. Thank you for all that you have posted.

A family in my former parish (I am a retired priest, formerly ECUSA, now ACNA) had an autistic son. I saw the difficulty they had - I can scarcely imagine the challenges you face. May the Lord's peace, power, and wisdom be with you each day, and may he grant you a deep refreshment of spirit and heart.

8:47 pm  
Blogger TLF+ said...

Wow, check out my blog post from early this a.m.

I sooooooooooo get

Most people deal with a 2-year old for...well, a year or so; we've been dealing with them for over 15, and after a while it wears you down.

10:50 am  
Blogger Sue Martinez said...

I've been admiring you and praying for you for years. I am the widowed mother of a 42-year-old autistic son. It did get better as the years went on, but I'm told that he'll be a perpetual adolescent all of his life and will need someone to keep him out of trouble when I'm gone. I don't know how to arrange that, so I must trust that God will arrange it somehow. He's always sent just the right people to help when we needed them.

9:12 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Talk about 'Braxton's Lear."...wow, after all of the nasty things you say to others and, irony of all ironies, you want attention and sympathy. Wow.

I love the 'I'm going to leave' (hand on forehead,) as you wait for the responses of "No...don't go..."

Mirror Mirror on the wall, who is Braxton after all?

9:25 pm  
Blogger Ann McCarthy said...

Charming response, Anonymous, truly gracious, and so courageous to post anonymously. Really.

Dr. Mabuse has a long history of shining light on those who skitter around in the darkness, which generally does not serve to make her popular amongst the skittering set.

In Dr. Mabuse's post, I'm not seeing a cry for sympathy but for prayer. I would hope anyone reading it would feel sympathy, but that was not the point of the post, at least as I read it.

Dr. Mabuse, you and your family are in my prayers. I know several families with autistic kids. While they wouldn't trade their kids for anything, neither would they tell you that their lives are easy. Thank you for sharing your life with us.

1:12 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Charming response, Anonymous, truly gracious, and so courageous to post anonymously. Really."

Why would I want a bunch of sychophantic, crazed fundamentalists jamming my Inbox with insane rhetoric?

Wanda has not been very 'gracious' to many people, rather she has targeted and singled out many individuals, in order to belittle, malign, denigrate, with no thought about being 'gracious,' while you and your other minions just laugh and find it oh-so-clever to attack those you do not know.

Anyone that shows any emotion or empathy--if they happen to believe differently than Wanda--gets skewered by her. Yet, here she is showing emotion--though it's all about HER--and I have to post that the irony is not lost on me.

The day that Wanda admits how little 'grace' she shows others, is the day I will shower 'grace' upon her.

Until then, her post is little more than a sorry attempt at attention. (that's just what Wanda would say, had someone from 'the Left' posted the identical thing).

9:27 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


sometime within the past year the Anglican Curmudgeon linked to a TED talk (TED.com) on autism. The woman who gave the talk was autistic herself. It was fascinating to hear her explain how she thinks and perceives things. Her particular slant on reality made some things difficult for her but made her particularly gifted for certain kinds of work.
I'm sorry I can't remember her name. Maybe you would find it encouraging or interesting at least.


11:03 pm  
Blogger Nasty, Brutish & Short said...

Wanda, you are in our prayers. Have you ever thought about writing a spiritual book on coping with autism, for others similarly situated to you? You'd do a great job, and it would be so valuable to those who need it.
Not that you have a lot of free time to write, I know. But a bit here, and a bit there. It adds up.

I'd miss your blog.

God bless,


10:15 pm  
Anonymous Toral said...

Well, the anonymous comments show you have enemies. If one doesn't have enemies in the situation in which society is at today, then something must be wrong.

I share both the despair at the situation in society and the church, the feeling that, turn what way you will, there is nothing in view except decline and ruin. And also the dread occasioned by the end of summer. The Globe today cites a study that the seasons make no difference in people's happiness.The Globe lies. I view winter with horror, and the day after Labour Day means only one thing.

On the lighter side I decided to try Trolloppe, and greatly anjoyed The Warden, which opens up the whole Barchester series I guess. I think that I'm a lot likt Mr Harding, too much perhaps. I wonder who besides Trolloppe and Austen I should try among 19th century novelists.

You have a dedicated audience and I think should take some satisfaction in that these people of good judgment are very interested in what you have to say, and I for one will miss it if it indeed ceases.

1:13 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dr. M.,

Were you and Dean ever parishioners at Ascension and St. Agnes in Washington, DC?


11:45 pm  
Blogger Dr. Mabuse said...

Henry: Yes, we were, from 1986 to 1989, during Fr. Smith's time.

1:25 pm  
Blogger Tina said...

Dear Wanda,

Entering the 50s is rough. You are in my prayers, and I hope this new challenge will pass quickly for you and bring you into, as Marjorie said, "a large place", a place of newness.

I shall think of you every time I successfully crimp a pie crust! :-)

Please ping me if/when you should decide to blog again.


10:51 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dr. M,

We know each other from those years at A & St A. I was the seminarian from Virginia who worked at the church on Sundays and Thursdays. The more I read of your writing (I could hear your written words being spoken in your distinctive, melodious voice), the more I was persuaded that you are the Wanda and Dean from those years.

If you care to get in touch, I can send you my contact information via the Stand Firm message center. Just let me know.


3:35 am  
Blogger Dr. Mabuse said...

My goodness, Henry! Of course I remember you! On StandFirm I've read about your exploits out there in the wild west (Texas) - most admirable. I will drop you a message on the SF message board (once I figure out again how it works).

9:23 am  
Blogger Dr. Mabuse said...

Henry, you'd better send me a PM via StandFirm - I have no idea what your secret identity is there, so I wouldn't be able to find you. I have the same name there as here.

9:42 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dr. Mabuse,

Add my voice to those who hope this is just a time of reflection for you and that once rested you will return to delight us with your wit and wisdom.

I've truly enjoyed keeping up with you in cyberspace and will add you and yours to my prayer list.

May God allow you rest in the shadow of His wings and refresh you are the ever flowing waters of his mercy and love.


6:38 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

are = with

Note to self: Hit preview first. :(

6:41 pm  

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