Once upon a time, when my son was young, there was little autism awareness. There was, however, much awareness of a growing number of children misbehaving in stores, churches, offices – but the conventional behavioral and discipline approaches did not work. And there was a lot of confusion, misjudgments and multiple opinions regarding this behavior. I can’t tell you the multiple times I heard, “If you would just…” with all kinds of recommendations. I felt constantly caught between him and the rest of the world – interpreting the world for him, interpreting him to the world (actually, at age 21 I still do). One night after a particularly difficult time of someone judging him (and me as his parent), I cried out to God. I wanted to honor my son who was essentially clueless; I also wanted to honor the individual – who was also clueless. And, I, though full of compassion and a desire to help, also felt clueless. I woke up early (approx 4 am) and sat down at the computer keyboard and began writing this letter. It truly felt like it was dictated to me. Maybe I was the interpreter of Jordon’s heart to God. Or His heart for Jordon. In any case, I hope it helps us to look at one another through the eyes of Love and Truth – God’s and God’s alone.
When You sent Your Son into our world, I’m told He was perfect in every way. He said “Let the children come to Me, and don’t forbid them, for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven.” Was He only talking about those children all around me that seem so much more “perfect” than me – You know who I mean. The ones who are quiet, well behaved, smart, funny, athletic – kind of like angels, I guess. Were there any kids like me in that crowd when He extended His invitation to come to Him – kind of rough around the edges, noisy, loud, awkward, slower to catch on, kids that stutter or mutter or cling or swing?
‘Cause if there were I’d really like to know.
Am I invited, too? Or am I “forbidden” through the disapproving looks and hushes of others. I know I’m different than most of the other kids. If I were there would He see past my impulsiveness and forgetfulness, my lack of social grace – would He give me a big hug and tenderly gaze into my face … and into my heart? Did He include me, too, since He made me anyway – or would He turn away and forget about me?
I’m really not the kind one can forget about. You put such love in my heart for people, I just want to reach out to others, but I don’t always see that reflected in their faces. Actually, sometimes it seems more like shadows than reflections. Is it reflected in Your Son, Jesus? Or in Your children who want to be like You? ‘Cause I’d really like to know.
Is heaven really made up of kids like me? Could Jesus have been thinking of me so long ago when He opened His arms and welcomed those children – looking past my today and into who I can become? Mom tells me that’s what “grace” means (and I thought it meant praying before we get to eat!) It would mean so much to me to know if I’m just tolerated or really accepted, blunders and all, and truly welcomed with open arms. Is there room for me?
‘Cause it would mean all the world to me … and I’d really like to know.
Thanks for listening, God,
P.S. Mom also told me You’re preparing a big banquet when we’re there with You. Do You think there could be spaghetti and meatballs? (they’re my favorite) … sorry for all the questions. It’s just that I’d really like to know…
… I really need to know….