What happened to tolerance? What happened to being enlightened and educated? What will happen to people like my brother, my daughter and friends whose children have special needs like autism, Aspergers, Down Syndrome? The letter that was sent to a mother of an autistic boy has me questioning humanity.
Are they really seen as less than whole–less than human? Are they not worth being a part of our society? I beg to differ. Life as I see it is deeper when it encounters “less than perfect.” Please don’t misunderstand, my daughter isn’t less than perfect, nor is my brother. We are taught to want average, normal, high functioning which is good but what happens when it isn’t? If you ask me–‘it’s when we truly learn how to live authentically in freedom.
That’s where grace comes in. I want to write this post to the mother who sent that horrible letter, 5 things I’ve learned living with autism.
Every Child is A Unique Soul
It’s easy to put people in boxes, Smart Vs alethic, Introvert vs Extrovert, Strong-willed vs. Sweet Natured but my children have taught me the unique qualities and talents each of them have. I now celebrate other people. When I friend someone, I see their weaknesses, strengths, and talents which I appreciate and thank God for his creativity. The beauty woven into each soul is inexplicablely incredible and I am thankful to be the mother of a children who have labels of Autism, ADHD and Strong-Willed because I get to help shape and mold each child into the person they are divinely destined.
I get to see them for who they are not what they are labeled.
Every Family Has a Different Journey
As I read the letter, the hurtful words scrawled out on the page reminded me each family is different. Each family is given different paths because they are destined to accomplish different great things. My family is transparent in how we live, who our children are and when others are on the outside looking in, they see the beauty of God working through us. It births compassion and reminds us perfection isn’t beautiful, imperfection is.
Being the mother to Cheyenne and Elijah taught me to think differently about our lives. Faith looks different to us, our priorities are different. We want to challenge, grown and instill different values in our kids.
Fear is just a shadow
Growing up, I was in the same grade as my brother. I stood my ground during fist fights with stupid boys over him. I mouthed off to teachers who treated him as anything less than. My heart bled for him. Mikey is my Irish twin. Born less than a year a part, Mikey became “developmentally delayed” due to severe reactions from a vaccine. I vowed I would never have children who were “disabled” because of being so close to my brother. I never wanted my children to experience cruelty. It was my biggest fear.
I was wrong. When we face our biggest fears, they came nothing but silly shadows. Shadows are merely an oversized unknowns. They creep against the walls of our minds shaping our hearts with fear. I feared the unknowns Cheyenne and Elijah were struggling with. I feared the words, not normal, disabled, challenged because I was afraid of them getting hurt. I was afraid of how the world would see see us.
When their diagnoses came to light, there was nothing left to fear. I was merely caught up in the shadows of the unknowns or what I thought I knew.
Children come in different sizes, personalities, abilities and talents. Each is a reflection of a richly creative God. Each is celebrated by him and so I’d like to say to the person who wrote that incredibly offensive letter to the mother of an autistic boy, “Maybe you should donate the part of your heart that doesn’t have compassion to God. Maybe that part of your heart needs euthanized so create something fresh and new. I pray he heals your heart. I pray he touches it deepely.
My heart goes out to you and your inability to love how others are created.