I met someone recently who broke my heart! Some people might call him disabled, others will say, disadvantaged, some may even call him retarded. I met him at the Luzerne County Fair. My husband and I had set-up our band organ as part of the entertainment there. It had begun to lightly rain and although there is little room in the trailer for anything but the organ, I got a chair inside and sat next to it. That’s when I looked up and saw him.
I don’t know why, but I didn’t ask his name. Anyway, he wasn’t able to tell me his name. However, his mother was with him and we talked. “You have really made our day,” she said as she explained that her son, loves music. I looked at her son whose eyes were busy moving back and forth, but never once did he look directly at me.
Since I don’t know his name we will call him, Joe. He is at least six feet tall and weighs over two hundred pounds. He wore his baseball cap backwards and a long-sleeved shirt over a tee shirt. It was on the tee that I caught the word, autism.
Meanwhile his mother began to dance to the music while encouraging him to do the same. And he did! He rocked from one foot to the other and kept doing that as long as the music played. “We won’t stay long,” she said. “You stay as long as you like,” I replied.
That’s when I asked if her son had autism. “Yes,” was her answer. I told her that I have a grandson with autism. “Of course you do,” was her reply. “Because of the immunization program here, everyone has someone in their family with it.” She believes that the vaccines did irreparable damage to her son’s immune system which led to his autism. When I said that I had seen a report that the courts were admitting that certain vaccines cause autism and they were pointing at the Measles/Mumps/Rubella vaccine. She said, she had heard nothing about it. “People in other countries ask why does the United States insist on vaccinating their children, when our living conditions are clean?” she said. According to her, other countries don’t require this and also do not have autism. I have since read that it is world-wide.
I guessed Joe’s age as 20 years old and this surprised his mother. She said, yes, but how did you do that, most people think he is much older. I could see that his face was very, young and his five-o’clock-shadow was that of a young man. “He was so intelligent until I sent him to school,” said his mother. When I asked what happened, she said, “tell everyone not to send their children unless there are aides on the school buses.” She told me to take his hand, but he did not respond to my squeeze. “He has no grip,” she said. He did, however, respond to his mother’s kiss. She seemed to imply that bad experiences caused his descent. By then, my eyes filled with tears.
Suddenly, she surprised me with a question. She looked to where my husband was standing and said, “Is that your husband over there?” When I said yes, she said, “he is so handsome and you are beautiful.” I thought, here’s a mother who can’t help but think that life is unfair. What did the future hold for her son, a beautiful wife? This is doubtful! I didn’t ask if she had other children. If this were so, I might be less likely to feel what a grave, tragedy her son’s circumstances are, yet, they are.
Another surprise was next. “Look he’s getting sad,” she said. His lips were drawn downward at the corners and he looked as if he would cry. “He needs his pill,” and in a second she had one up to his mouth and he seemed aware that he needed this. “We must go, now.” she said. “You don’t know how much your music has meant to us,” she added. And they were gone!
It was like a dream! I was deeply moved by their visit. A flood of thoughts began to come. I had both measles and mumps when I was kid, so did my brothers and sister. Now, they say these diseases can cause pneumonia, seizures, brain damage, arthritis and even death. But wouldn’t these be easier to deal with, than with autism? I know that parents, everywhere are dealing with children who have autism. Our granddaughter and husband are among them. Daily they carry this burden as they watch for every tiny improvement and learn and study about diet and other factors that may help their son.
Why hadn’t I asked for his name and why hadn’t I asked if his mother knew Jesus? I can pray that she will accept Jesus’ heed to take one day at a time. Jesus knew that as humans we need to live one day at a time. He said, “Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matt. 6:34. How thankful I and my husband are, that we made a difference in this one day of their lives. Looking at all the days ahead of them would be overwhelming. Pray that they’ll have more days like this one was.