World Autism Awareness Day is Saturday, April 2. To hear the special podcast of “Good Things Radio” dedicated to this theme, click here.
Autism affects 70 million people, globally. Each person is different. I do not seek to speak for anyone else. But since our family is counted among that number, I do want to take a minute and share something I wrote about our journey. It is a tribute to my daughter, Karolina. If even one person finds this and feels a sense of solidarity in these words, I thank God for that. You are not alone. May we be a people of the Beatitudes, and celebrate the saints in our midst.
The Agony and the Ecstasy of Autism
The secrets of the universe you hold in your mind.
Yet words to voice your wisdom you’ve been unable to find.
You live in a world of silence, and so often I feel left out.
I long to connect with you. In desperation, I want to shout.
The days you scream in endless frustration for reasons I can’t find.
This is the agony that makes me nearly lose my mind.
Lord, how can I do justice to a child such as this?
When she cannot tell me what she needs, and every hug she will dismiss?
Friends and peers pass you by, in spades
And the dreams of a miracle slowly start to fade.
But in you I also see
Something holy, and powerful beyond this world and me.
A song that rises from an inner depth of light
That comes from within you, to serenade the night.
Your life is a symphony of rejoicing through the tears
Your music keeps me dancing and helps release my fears
As you flap your arms and jump and tiptoe merrily
You give me strength to fly with you and take in your melody
If you can do it, I know I can too.
My precious sinless child, I pray to be more like you.
You teach me patience, joy, faith, and amazing fortitude
An understanding of the cross with breathtaking magnitude.
God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise;
And autism is such a perfect disguise.
God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.
And in you, I’ve seen this hidden strength all along.
You are the light of my life, and the daughter of my soul
You are the North Star that points to heaven to help make me whole.
How blessed are we who love autistic saints
Because on the canvas of their lives, we see the promise of heaven God paints.