Dear Autism and Cerebral Palsy
I’ve been meaning to write to you for quite some time but thanks to you two, I’ve been pretty busy as you can imagine.
Over the years I have cursed at you, yelled at you, cried at you, and tried my best to understand you. The more I have learned about you, the more I realize how little I know about you.
But there is one thing I haven’t done.
I have never stopped to thank you.
That’s right. I need to stop and thank you for a few things today.
You probably don’t get a lot of thank you notes mixed in with all your hate mail; so let me try to explain why I’m writing.
You see you robbed my son of his speech. Because of you he is non-verbal and has no language, even though he is 17 years old.
But when you robbed my son of his speech, God decided to give him a voice and a platform.
He may not speak, but God used his life to inspire, bless, and teach others around him.
Hey Autism, do you remember that cave you tried to lure us and other autistic families into for the rest of their lives? You know, the isolated dreary cave where you want all autistic families to live in without hope?
We tried it. It just wasn’t for us. So now we do search and rescue, returning to the cave over and over to show others the way out of the cave and to a better place.
Guys there are so many other things you’ve robbed me from for which I need to thank you.
You’ve robbed me from my own pride, selfishness, and greed.
You’ve robbed me from my tendency to put my work above my family.
You’ve robbed me from living for myself instead of in service to others.
You’ve robbed me of only caring about those who are just like me.
You’ve robbed me of believing there are some struggles just too big for us.
You’ve robbed me of never finding out what God’s plan and purpose is for my life.
Since you came into my life, I have met some amazing people because of our common association with you.
Therapists, teachers, assistants, service providers—dedicated and passionate people who have crossed our path and have become part of our story—people I never might have met if it weren’t for you. Thanks to you two I’ve also met some amazing parents raising their own heroes with special needs who inspire and encourage me.
What you don’t know Autism and Cerebral Palsy is that God didn’t take away the struggles, the pain, or the challenges. He just simply used them in ways I never dreamed or you never expected.
He has used them to teach me unconditional love
He has used them to teach me the essence of grace.
He has used them to teach me to find joy in all things.
He has used them to show me how to be content in the little things.
Really you can say He has simply used them to draw me closer to Him, help me understand Him, and make me stronger through Him.
In trying to destroy us, all you did was prepare a stage for God to show his glory.
You really helped me take my relationship with God to a much higher and deeper level; so thank you so much! I’m so grateful! Now I rely and lean on Him more than ever.
I also want to thank you for drawing my wife and I closer together in our relationship. We have learned to cry together, laugh together, grieve together, and stand strong together because of you.
So you see Autism and Cerebral Palsy, I have quite a bit of gratitude for you. Of all the things I’ve said to you and about you, I’ve never thanked you.
Who knew that out of my seeds of hate for you, could grow such love for my son!
So consider this my thanks to you.
But let’s be clear, just so you know. I still loathe and despise you with everything in me.
(This post of mine was originally published earlier this month on The Mighty.)