People often assume that my younger son (with Autism) is lost in his own world, not paying attention, and unreachable. They make the mistake of dismissing him, ignoring him, and/or underestimating him.
Eventually he proves them wrong, often with hilarious results.
Especially in church.
This last sunday our Pastor was at the pulpit, delivering a sermon around God’s plan for each of us. I was in the choir loft, listening to Pastor (of course!) and watching my family sitting in the second pew from the front (right in front of the Pastor). My husband and older son were sitting face forward, eyes up toward the pulpit, feet still, mouths closed. Pretty typical sermon-listening posture.
My younger son was next to them, sprawled out on the pew, legs akimbo, fingers busy with a paperclip, eyes focused on who-knows-what on the floor, feet gently kicking the kneeler in front of him, lips and mouth working at some sort of silent exercise. This is not typical sermon-listening posture. But then, my son is not typical in many respects.
So Pastor is talking about God’s plan for us. He says that God has our lives planned out. That we need to trust in God. His voice gets louder as he makes his points. His hand gestures become broader. He explains how this does not relieve us of all responsibility (“God’s plan, our hands”). He gets louder and even more animated. He goes on to say that we humans often feel such a need to control our destiny that people “sometimes … rush in thinking they need to save God’s bacon!” (gotta love Southernisms)
My younger son quickly and loudly pipes up with “WHAT? WE NEED TO SAVE GOD’S BAKERY?”
Pastor quickly recovered from his surprise and said “Yes! Can you believe some people think they need to do that?” and went on with his prepared text. For a moment however he lost his audience. Everyone else was laughing and twittering about my son’s cute outburst, asking each other if that was set up by Pastor, and amazed that a little boy was actually paying attention, much less THIS little boy who doesn’t look like he pays attention to ANYTHING.
Let me tell you now – he pays attention – and he picks up on a heck of a lot more than you think he does.
… and those gigles heard from the choir loft? Those were from a proud mama who loves her baby very much and couldn’t help wondering if God’s bakery serves egg and bacon biscuits past 11 am.