Wednesday, June 17, 2009

His work and glory

Sometimes I wonder about him. My tall, but awkward, 10 year son is playing baseball this year. He wanted to sign up for the team, and one of the coaches, who's wife working with him in school one year, actually requested him on his team. He refuses even to try on the baseball pants. He is the only kid out there with khakis under the team jersey. In fact, when they stand straight and in formation to hit the ball, my Galen stands slumped. When they run bases as a group, Galen lags behind by about 2. He refuses to wear baseball or tennis shoes and plays the games in worn out dress shoes. A coach from another town had tagged him as "an easy out." I was furious at the time. Could he not see how special he is? Galen sometimes sits down in right field. He sometimes outright misses a ball aimed straight at him. I am sure beyond any measure of a doubt that he won't make it to college on a baseball scholarship.

But today I came to realize the abilities he does have. He is not here to catch the ball and win the game. He is not here to bat strong and beautiful. He is here to bring about the works of the Lord. Most children get maybe a cheer from their parents when they make a good play. But when Galen gets up to bat, even though he usually swings too early and misses the ball, he is the only child that garners cheers from the parents on both teams. His innocence and happy demeanor rallies them together. He does something to the hearts of those he is near. He is an opportunity to serve and love unconditionally. He is an excuse, that we as human beings, need to be truly human in our outlook and actions.

He brings joy to those who reach out to him. His team has won every game this year (for 1/2 the season so far). I wondered at first if his team mates would think of him as burden, but they have been the sweetest boys to my Galen. The coach and the parents have been very sweet to him too. I think he has made the team something more then sports. I think he makes everything he participates in something more, something better.

It is often exasperating to get Galen to learn new skills. Simple things like tying his shoes or flushing the toilet takes many hours and reminders to teach. Most autistic children do not ever learn to ride a bike, none the less learn to participate in sports with new rules, new schedules and a uniform. But there is a way, when the universe deems the time is right, that these things magically come to pass. When Galen was potty trained it happened in one day, same with riding his bike. Sometimes I wonder what will be the next skill he will magically pick up one night, but tonight I am happy with knowing that other people take joy in cheering on his efforts. He may not come in first, or even third, but when he comes in people will cheer him like he just broke the record.

People amaze me in their capacity to do good. People amaze me in their ability to reach out and befriend, but in our day and age we have been taught to be cautious and careful by portrayals and reports of violence in our media. The way around our caution is the innocent smile of an awkward autistic ten year old.

Sometimes I wonder about him. I wonder if he will go to college, find a wife, become a functioning member of society. I wonder about these things until I see the what he already does for us. He has a function in society. It may not make money, but he allows us to be human.


At 6/18/09, 4:02 PM, Blogger Paul said...

I have tears welling in my eyes.


Post a Comment

<< Home