Obviously I am terrible at keeping up with blogging. Life just gets in the way. I did want to get a blog in before the end of autism awareness month. And as I thought on what to write about, I was moved by the current sermon series being preached at my church.
This month we are talking about labels. Labels we give ourselves, labels others give us, and labels God gives us. Carter is given a lot of labels. For purposes of support from the state, support from insurance, support from school, support in the community, he is labeled. He is described as severely autistic, nonverbal, expressive/receptive delays, fine motor delays, developmental delays, etc. But I want you to know about the other labels. Funny, smiley, smart, happy, sassy, tons of personality, easy going. But there is a label that trumps all the others – my son. It doesn’t matter what challenges we face. It doesn’t matter if he talks. It doesn’t matter if he’s having a good day or a bad day. The only thing that matters is he’s mine. Nothing he could do or not do would ever change that. I will love him if everything changes or everything stays the same.
I always loved the quote, “In a world where you can be anything, be kind.” I think that sums up perfectly what I hope during this month. That we can share our experiences and feel support and acceptance. That just because my approach might look different, the intent is the same. We all want what’s best for our children. We all want them to be successful and thrive. I hope we understand that we all judge – ourselves and each other. And to remind ourselves that words have power – power to build up and power to tear down. Let us all use our words to help restore hope, support each other during difficult times and be kind when someone’s views differ from our own. To understand that we all see the world through our own lens of experiences. That we are all sons and daughters of God. That we are all made in his image.
There is a prayer I’ve been saying to myself every morning this month, that I hope will continue even after this month has passed. It is about remembering just because the words don’t always come out, that the heart and mind should be clean and pure. That even though I don’t say the mean thing, the hurtful thing, the less than understanding thing, it will harden your heart. Let me turn my heart and mind towards the one who reminds me that the grace I’ve been given is deserving to everyone. To love not only those that are easy to love, but to love our enemies. To love those that despise us. To show compassion and grace in times when we don’t feel like it. To remember the only label that matters for each of us is we are all sons and daughters of God.