Let There Be a Boy
One green, green day, the Lord looked upon the earth.
He admired his sons and his daughters. He smiled at all the wonderful animals, and he gazed tenderly at each new baby. The round blue earth, with all its people and puppies and flowers and trees, seemed complete.
But the Lord was not so sure. He thought about it for a while, and then he said to himself, I am not done yet. I need someone who is a little different.
Let there be a child, He said.
Let there be a child who is unlike any other child.
This child will challenge the convention of sports, and religion, and academics, and friendship.
He will scream without pause for the first six months of his life, and then hush to an eerie quiet for the next three years.
This child will be earnest, and honest, and pure.
His eyes will remain downcast and sideways, and his fingers will twitch and dance to a silent song, and his sleep will be interrupted and scarce.
He will live in the trenches of fear and anxiety every single day of his life.
He will stand amongst the throngs of children on the playground, and try to figure out their games and their jokes and their inner language as though it’s an intricate game of chess.
With these thoughts in mind, God made a boy.
And He gave this boy something called autism.
He did not explain where the autism came from, or why. He left it to the people to figure it out for themselves.
He watched from high above the round blue earth as they argued and pointed their long fingers at vaccines and each other. He watched them type up research reports and conduct experiments and fight about genetics and whether gluten was the problem.
He realized this boy and his autism needed more.
So He made a family.
He made a father to teach, and soothe, and try, and plan.
He made a mother to hope.
He made three brothers and one sister to stand beside him on the darkest of days.
They are his voice.
They keep him in the here and now. They find ways to connect and understand.
Things were not always easy with this family. They were not always their best selves.
The mom and the dad argued. They wanted different things but also wanted the same things and they didn’t have any idea how to get what they wanted.
They did not know how to soothe the hurt that burned between them.
He watched. Dear Lord, he watched it all.
And from high above the round blue earth, He prayed.
Hands folded, on bended knee, he prayed they would know that some days, it doesn’t matter where it came from. Sometimes, it only matters where he’s going.
Where is he going?
That is the big question.
Will he be independent?
Will he be happy?
No one really knows.
Still, the Lord prayed. He prayed, and he asked just one question.
Won’t you see what I see?
Won’t you see how hard they are trying?
Won’t you grant this family grace as they find their way along autism’s bumpy path?
Won’t you see in this boy the image of a butterfly, nestling deep within his safe, warm cocoon, only to reinvent himself in all his surprising, luminous glory?
Into this his ear, God whispered gently.
Do not give up. Perhaps today you are not a leader amongst boys, but one day you will stand a knight amongst men.
And to the round blue world, God announced softly.
This child is my son.
His name is Jack.
He is exactly who he is supposed to be.
July 26, 2021 @ 11:45 am
So funny reading that message exchange – when someone tells my ASD kid “hey bud” he grumbles in reply “why are you calling me ‘little flower’? That’s not my name”
I hope Jack is truly enjoying and gaining from this program (and that his family isn’t missing him too much)!
TracyEllen Carson Webb
July 26, 2021 @ 12:02 pm
I’m jealous of the long lunch too!
July 26, 2021 @ 12:19 pm
Another wonderful essay, Carrie. You’re so right: your beautiful boy is exactly who he’s supposed to be. Also, happy belated birthday to Rose!
July 26, 2021 @ 12:24 pm
Another wonderful essay, Carrie. You’re so right: your beautiful boy is exactly who he is supposed to be. Also, happy belated birthday to Rose!
July 31, 2021 @ 10:34 pm
Longtime silent reader here. You have such a way with words. What a gift.
Whenever I see a family in public struggling with their child/sibling with autism, I think of Jack, you, the patriarch, the three brothers, and the pink girl, and I have more grace and empathy. Your sharing has changed me.
I’m rooting so hard for Jack.