Jul 03

Guest post: Brody’s Joy

I asked my mother to write a little something on Brody and this is what she had to say:

Brody’s Joy

There are challenges and sorrows with a child who has Autism. There is lamenting and grieving for what might never be—the normal days of a child’s life.  There is an aching for them to talk to you, to have friends they are close to, and the unfulfilled dreams for the future. I have watched Brody since the onset of Autism and watched what felt like the doors of his mind  close —at least to us– and I have been thrilled since then to have even the smallest connections; like his meeting my eyes for longer than a moment or trying to talk to me or taking me by the hand to lead me somewhere.

But I have also seen that despite all that appears to be absent and might possibly always be absent—there is something that Brody has that other children do not have.  It is an infectious joy.  I am not sure where he has found it.  I am not sure what causes it. But I can see when he is filled with it.  There is no child with such a happy countenance as his. I have never seen such light in a pair of eyes.  When he is happy about something he reacts with his whole body.  He cannot keep still, and he sort of erupts with pure joy. He puts his hands up to his face and rubs it as if his smile is too overwhelming even to him.  He laughs the most delightful little laugh that is the most contagious thing I have heard.  I have seen happy, playful children before— but this is something more.

 I have wondered what it is that makes him feel these moments of pure joy.  Because he cannot talk, I cannot ask him, and he cannot tell me and so I just watch.  Sometimes it seems to be something he sees; a book, a stuffed animal, a favorite toy.  Sometimes I wonder if it is a memory or thought about a movie he loves or a game he has played.  Other times I wonder if there is something far beyond my understanding that has nothing to do with his external world.   It is almost as if God has given him more joy than the rest of us because of what he does not have.

This child, whose world by all outward measurement is very limited, finds and shows so much happiness and joy that it makes me wonder at myself.  Can I not do the same?  Can I not find joy in everyday life and not wait for the ideal circumstances?  Can I allow little, seemingly insignificant things to bring a smile to my face and a light to my eyes?  Brody makes me want to change and to have even a tiny bit of his joy right now. 


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