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Lessons learned about love

September 3rd, 2003 · 1 Comment

Newsweek’s cover story this week “Girls, Boys and Autism” discusses autism, new understandings and gender differences. I had never known anyone who was autistic until a couple years ago when a new family joined our spiritual community. We are a small group meeting in each others homes each week: we get to know each other well and become like a large extended family together, caring for each other, sharing our lives, sharing a meal, our children playing with one another as we gather.

This family’s then-seven-year-old son had been diagnosed with a milder variant of autism. In learning to love this boy, as I accommodated his constant requests for ketchup, marvelled at his intricate Lego creations, and made sure he had a baton or instrument so he could conduct the music during our times of singing together, I realized how many limitations I had. As I learned to love someone who fell outside the boxes and broke the rules of society, I saw how my own heart had boxes and rules too. I made mistakes. I learned more about mercy. I learned about grace. I learned a lot about love.

Our friends moved away last December but I will always remember all I learned from them as a family. Autism now has a hold on my heart. Thank you for your mercy to me. Thank you for all you taught me about love. And a day-late Happy Birthday greeting to the daddy of this blessed boy!

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1 response so far ↓

  • 1 John // Sep 5, 2003 at 6:49 am

    He still eats ketchup sandwiches, builds elaborate legos, and conducts the music with his batton. Lately he has taken to holding hands and taking his girlfriend (jamie) on walks in the park, and playing card games with her on sleepovers at her house where he has been welcomed into yet another family. Matthew now has his own swimming pool too. And the two of them can be seen taking turns holding their breath underwater and trying to communicate with each other as if to create a temporary handicap for themselves so that when they return to the surface, they relish in the above water clarity that they have.