A few weeks ago, a dear atheist friend of mine asked me why I believe in God.  Not in that “Religion is so stupid and therefore so are you” kind of way.  But honest curiosity.  She finds me to be a rational, non-superstitious, and free-thinker type and simply wondered what my personal reasons are for a belief in God.  I gave her a few of my reasons, but I have been thinking about it a lot lately.  And I’ve been asking myself what is my proof.

I wish I could say that I have always been a religious 100 percenter. You know, one of those people who is fortunate to have never doubted.  I have always said I believed, but knew I had paralyzing suspicions that our time on Earth is what it is – just time on Earth.  Just here, then not.  I was reasonably certain of my faith.  But “reasonably certain” is enough to make you feel like a hypocrite standing in church.  “Reasonably certain” is enough to make you forget to pray.  “Reasonably certain” is enough to keep you staring in the darkness at 3 a.m., trapped in the witching hours fear and worry.

I remember the day my autistic son first  flapped.  (Arm flapping is a common behavioral indicator of autism.) And it wasn’t the excited flapping that just about every toddler does when excited.  You see, I knew the difference.  Unless you have seen autistic flapping before, you won’t know.  But once you have, you just recognize it.  It even has a sound.  It reminds me a little of the sound of a bird I once spent a cool fall morning with in the mountains.  It was so quiet sitting on the deck of the rental cabin that I could actually hear its wings flapping.  One of those moments forever etched in your mind.  So was this.  The house was quiet, and I watched his little arms flap away.  And I knew.  I mean knew.  For I’d seen it before.

I woke up at 2 a.m. and couldn’t go back to sleep.  That witching hour of the mind and heart, when all your mental defenses are down, and suddenly – by yourself with no one to sugarcoat it – you gain clarity.  The kind of clarity that you can’t think about anything else.  The kind that shakes you to your soul and reveals to you your true self.  And I crossed my arms tightly, and began to rock and repeat, “Please, no. Please not my baby.  Not autism.  Please anything but this for my baby.  Please not my child.”

I am not a crier.  I rarely well up at funerals.  I cried after the death of my grandmother.  And I cried all during the last five days of my stepmother’s life.  But it takes a lot.  And, lying there awake in the middle of the night beside my sleeping husband, I began to bawl.  There were no distractors from my fears, and it all came out.  And I can tell you that in the darkest moment of my life, of any human being’s life – fear for your child – that without realizing it, I dropped any traces of doubt as I begged.  I mean really, really begged.

I had begged God for the attention of some teenage boy in my girlhood. I had begged God for a job offer. But you haven’t begged until you have begged for the life of your child.  No, I wasn’t begging for his literal life.  But most of the autistic children I had seen were  never going to achieve self-sufficiency.  At that time, I didn’t see this as any kind of life at all.  I see it differently now, but not in that dark hour of grief.

I begged God.  And then I stopped and took a deep breath and went to the sink and washed my face.  (My eyes were so swollen the next day that I had to tell the people looking at me strangely that I had a sinus infection.)  That was the night that I acknowledged the death of a carefree childhood and accepted the tough years that were coming to us.  Of course I had heard of people who functioned beautifully in a great environment and who went on to college and family life.  But I also knew the statistics.  50% don’t speak.  Some cannot communicate their own basic needs. 80% will remain in their parents’ homes in adulthood.  Pardon me for saying so.  But those odds suck.

I realize that was the moment I was no longer agnostic.  I believed –because of science.  Because nature is science.  Instincts are a part of nature.  And those instincts serve a purpose.  Instincts kick in during moments of fear. And my instincts reached out — toward God. I have strong respect for our animal instincts.  Since human beings are animals, we, too, have instincts that, like animals, can save us in times of trouble and danger.  We, too, follow Mother Nature. So why would nature push me toward a God that wasn’t there?  In an odd way, it is because of science that I believe in God.  A roundabout way to get there if there ever was one.

My faith is not the kind of faith that makes me quote scripture at people I judge to be unworthy of salvation.  For I am not convinced that any man’s version of God is flawless.  I just know that I believe in Him and that belief gives me comfort and peace.  I don’t think my atheist friends are evil, and I hope they don’t think I’m stupid.  And I don’t believe that they and others like them are all conspiring to divest me of my own beliefs.  Instead, I’m fortunate to have some very cool friends on both ends of the religious faith spectrum, so I’m blessed indeed.

So, my very dear atheist friend – you asked me why.  And there it is.  I believe that the need for a higher love and the search for immortality is instinctive – a God Instinct, if you will.  And since instincts are natural, then I believe God to be natural as well.  I also happen to think He gets a bad rap from some of his followers, so I won’t ever blame you for not wanting to join them.  You think there is no Heaven.  And I think you are such a wonderful person that one day we’ll together discuss your astonishment at being in Heaven after all.  Yet, I don’t think either one of these beliefs must negate our friendship.

I have said many times that autism is a thief.  Yet it is a thief that sometimes leaves behind unusual and surprising gifts.

For me, faith is one of them.

P.S.   Please.  No fire and brimstone comments here today.   You may mean well, but this isn’t the place.  It’s an autism blog.  And all of my readers are welcome and loved here.  🙂

So, what unusual or surprising gifts has autism give to you? 

52 responses »

  1. Kaye Chastain says:

    I remember very distinctly driving to work in the mornings before my first grandchild was born, following my daily practice of praying as I drove, smugly assured that my requests for a “perfect” grandson would be granted. After all, God had heretofore heard my every plea and responded exactly as I had asked Him to. My life was just about perfect. I had no reason to think it would no longer be so. Then Bryant was born. At 18 months he did not speak, he did not point. Some of his mannerisms were a bit strange. My firstborn grandchild was autistic, and I didn’t know where to turn. I don’t remember being particularly angry at God; I did not doubt that He had heard me all those times I had asked to be given a “perfect” grandchild. But why was this prayer not answered? In the almost six years since Bryant’s birth, God has given me that answer, quietly, succinctly, and clearly, as only a loving Father can. As a teacher I frequently dealt with the parents of special needs children. Their over zealous concern for their children’s well-being often irritated me and put me on the defensive. Today I am that grandparent, earnestly seeking reassurance that Bryant’s teacher loves him and will strive to help him succeed. The students in my classroom were not permitted to mock or bully one another, but I confess that my efforts to make sure those things didn’t happen were sometimes lacking in real enthusiasm. Today, and every day, I pray that his classmates will treat Bryant with kindness,understanding and acceptance. The idea that he might be bullied or made fun of is almost more than I can bear. The impatience I felt when a special needs child required extra time to finish an assignment or needed additional explanation? I pray that Bryant’s teachers will grant him those things, not because they have to, but because they understand and care about him. And the days I hid away in the teachers’ lounge to avoid conversing with those two or three students who had no social skills wth their peers? My heart simply breaks to think that one of Bryant’s teachers would be that thoughtless and callous. That toddler I once regarded so scornfully as it melted down in a restaurant or department store? Now I think again. The little one in constant movement in the booth behind me? Maybe he has to move; maybe he has no choice. I have experienced too many miracles in my life not to believe in God. And my precious grandson is one of them. His life is inextricably joined to mine, and I like to think we are both better people for it. God did give me a “perfect” grandchild, perfect in every way for me.

  2. Catharine P says:

    Thanks for the post. I struggle with my faith even being the daughter/grandaughter etc of a long line of preachers. My autistic son’s name is Gabriel and when Christmas comes around it really hits my heart that the angel Gabriel came to Mary to give her good news. I am really hoping to hear from God through my son in this lifetime (especially because he can’t speak at age 8!) I don’t know what I would do if I had no hope for Gabe to be in heaven as a “perfect” being!! So for now, I hoold on to hope and faith and trust God that he gave me this child for a reason 🙂

  3. Christine Duffley says:

    This is my first visit to your blog. I am a mom of five with an adopted son whose primary diagnosis was total blindness. One of the reasons to adopt my nephew was because of faith. When the autism diagnosis came after years of questionable behavior and communication challenges, it was a time of grief as the others expressed. I was also angry with God. As a human, I can forgive myself for this and readjust to go on (with the grace of God). If it weren’t for my faith community, life would have been considerably more difficult. I have been blessed. This past year, my son has been recognized for his gifts that would not have been present if he were “normal”. He has taught our family, community and literally people around the world about overcoming and persevering in this life and living with our hearts. This is a video, not taken by us, but by another attendee that has circulated in different places… a celebration of faith that keep us whole. Even non-believers are inspired, as attested by the messages they leave.
    http://www.youtube.com/user/ChristopherDuffley?feature=mhee Thank you everyone for your wonderful posts. Surely we are traveling this journey together.

  4. Megan says:

    My son does not have Autism, he has Cerebral Palsy and Epilepsy. I cried as I read this because I know that feeling you had crying in your bed. My son will be wheel chair bound for his entire life as well as g-tube fed and non-verbal. No one understands what night time can do to us SNP(special needs parents). I have never been able to put my feelings into words but let me just say that yours fit very well. It is difficult to get non snp to understand the feelings, I know my family doesn’t understand the fears. Very well put and I will continue to follow your blog you are a beautiful writer.

  5. Interesting post! I actually lost any faith I had left after my brother was diagnosed with autism. I don’t know… when people say stuff like: “God wouldn’t have given him to you unless he knew you could take care of him,” or “this is God’s will”, I’m thinking, well forgive me for not wanting to believe in such a God then!
    Oh well…

  6. Margaret says:

    I can’t say that I’ve never questioned God’s existence, but there’s always been a deeper part of me that “knows” He exists. He can be found in the good, and even the “bad”. My dad passed away from a rare cancer, leaving a wife and 8 children behind. I, the oldest, had just turned 15 and my youngest sister was 25 months at the time. It truly “sucked” and I was angry at God and unfairness of it. Twenty-seven years later, I can see the many blessings his death has brought, but I still miss him and wish I could get his bear-hugs.
    There’s a post on FB that’s gone viral lately, about a 5 year old non-verbal boy who was taken to see “Harold and the Purple Crayon” at Seattle Children’s Theater. (It’s on the Seattle Children’s Theater page.) Maybe you’ve seen it? The miracle is there… as well as the unfairness and heartbreak. And, I believe, so is God.

  7. Lora Hinkel says:

    I truly love your blog. I am a strange mom (aren’t we all) in the sense that I (like you) am also a teacher. I am a speech-language pathologist and deaf educator. I worked as a SLP with children with autism for a few years before having my own. Your posts strike home to me. I also run a support group for mothers of children with autism (MCA) in Columbia, MO. I have shared your link and a few of your posts with my 200+ members. My son is 9. He was diagnosed at 21 months of age. We have clocked over 6,000 hours of home-based therapy (outside of full school days). Your comment about your nighttime realization hit me strongly. I did the exact same thing many years ago when I was just starting this journey. I cried reading your post because it brought back the exact same feelings. In addition, I helped start a religious sunday school program for children with disabilities in Columbia (and then joined that church….I was a faithful Catholic until my son was about 3 and we couldn’t take him to church & they had nothing for him). I too have doubted. However, like you, when my athiest friends ask about my faith I can’t explain. It’s a deeper KNOWLEDGE…. I thought my son had autism at 6 months (I did see these kids every day. I worked with birth-age 6 primarily at the time). I was pretty sure at 9 months. I KNEW at 12 months. No one believed me until 18 months. He was diagnosed at 21 months…. I like the honesty in your blogs. You are politically correct (yes, although the professional in me prefers ‘child with autism’, your explanation to why I don’t really care a ton–shhh don’t tell—was perfect…), honest, and heartfelt. I’ve read a lot of blogs over the past 7 years. Yours is the first one I’ve gone back to repeatedly. However, I think it’s because I have to question whether I wrote it myself because we are so similar in so many ways ;)! I’m sure this is time consuming for you! I hope that you find it therapeutic in a way. I know I do! Keep them coming!

  8. mrsstone says:

    Really interesting post. I’m atheist. I’ve dabbled at times with concepts of spirituality yet they don’t really sit with me. But I’m always interested to hear and understand why faith works for others.
    My sons autism led to reading and researching theories about ASD which then led to reading and understanding more about critical scientific thought, this has been a real gift to me as it has widened my astonishment and appreciation for this planet we live on and it’s incredibly complex inhabitants.
    Another positive has been to open my mind to others perspectives and my heart to accept the variety of ways we humans live our lives. Compassion has been an unexpected gift.

  9. MeganM says:

    Very simply….. life is too hard to not believe in something.

  10. ingridm1970 says:

    I’m special ed. Assit. One of the best gifts that autism gave me is love. I love your posts!

  11. Jen says:

    Your description of your faith, and why, is beautiful. I may have different beliefs (being Pagan), but it is just as instinctual to me to reach out to the Goddess in difficult times, as it is for you to reach out to God. It is good for us, as parents and as individuals, to have our beliefs, and more importantly, to know why we believe what we do – no matter what it is – so that we can lean on it, and hopefully, pass a little of that on to our children.

    I’ve said it before, but thank you, again, for such a wonderful blog. I absolutely love reading your posts, and all the comments from so many supportive people who understand at least of little of what I’m going through with my own son. I get so much inspiration, relief and comfort here.

  12. Allison says:

    So beautifully said. My son is neuro-typical, but my sweet 4 yr old cousin has autism. Reading your blog is so helpful and eye-opening. I read your posts to become a better sense of support for him and his mother.
    The part about begging God for your son’s life — I remember the horrific day last January when my 10 month son was eating eggs for the first time. My husband was out of town and suddenly my baby boy was having an anaphylatic response. In the ambulance, as he was passed out and barely breathing, as the EMTs were speaking frantically on the phone with a doctor, speeding to Children’s and injecting him with futile amounts of EPI, it was the first time I knew what it really meant to beg God. To completely succumb and leave yourself, giving all you have to that higher power.
    Thank you for sharing your world with all of us.

  13. Jennifer says:

    “I also happen to think He gets a bad rap from some of his followers, so I won’t ever blame you for not wanting to join them. You think there is no Heaven. And I think you are such a wonderful person that one day we’ll together discuss your astonishment at being in Heaven after all. Yet, I don’t think either one of these beliefs must negate our friendship.”

    Loved this part. Sums up my feelings quite nicely. Thanks for sharing.

  14. Lisha Mathews says:

    Wow…thank you so much for your post. While I read your beautiful explanation of why you have faith, I realized I was not the only one who doubted, cried, and begged for my child’s life at three in the morning. The feelings of just “knowing”, maybe because we are mothers and instinctively know without words, is a powerful feeling. I have read a lot about ASD from teachers, scientists, parents, etc., but have never felt like someone was speaking my language so to speak. I couldn’t have said it better 😉

    Thank you!
    Lisha

  15. Ashley Hughes says:

    Autism has given me patientence and understanding. It has also given me small pleasures. I am so proud of the little things, things that I wouldn’t have noticed with my daughter who is not autistic, I am more than over joyed with my son, he makes me so happy. The things that my kids do, they are amazing. Autism has made me a better person, I find that hard to believe as I type it, a year ago I wouldn’t have believed that. I still cry, and wonder why, but my husband I are closer, we are better parents, we are more kind and understanding. We love more and better.

  16. I just this week lost a friend because I posted about my feelings on fate after we lost our little boy (and yes I’m an agnostic and I prayed for his life), I’m glad to see such thoughtful comments here.

    Our gorgeous little boy has taught me about innocence, joy, detail, how literally things can be taken, dinosaurs in every shape and size, and pure sweetness!

    I can’t tell you how much I love your blog, I was asked today (by a blogger I treasure to name my 10 top blogs) I couldn’t for some reason link to your fb page but loved your blog so much so I put in the link directly here. I am getting people asking me about how Autism is handled in Italy and I honestly don’t know but hope for the best.

    ciao lisa

    • FlappinessIs says:

      Lisa, I’ve read your blog a few times and have been envious. I had the opportunity to travel a few years ago. I visited 5 countries in just a couple of years – England twice, France, Greece, Turkey, and Italy once- and it spoke to my soul. Being an American, obviously it isn’t as easy to meet many diverse cultures without forking over a lot of dough. (You being from Australia, I’m sure you understand.) How marvelous it must be to be able to fully immerse yourself and your family in Italian culture. I’ve often dreamed of doing the same. 🙂

      Thank you so much for your kind words. Blogging has been the most amazing experience for me. I didn’t realize how badly I needed to write. Instead, I was trying to be content posting entirely too many status updates on FB. lol It’s been wonderful to connect to so many folks who understand the Me of Now. And from so many interesting and diverse places. It makes me feel a little footloose again to hear from you guys outside the U.S. I’ve spoken to ASD parents in Africa, Europe, Australia, and South America. It amazes me that all of us began our journeys coming from such different backgrounds – different countries, religions, political beliefs, educational levels, etc. – and yet now our hearts speak the same language. Autism is a powerful teacher indeed.

      Thanks for sharing. I always enjoy seeing you pop up in comment threads. 🙂

      P.S. I’d love to have the link to the post you mentioned above, if it isn’t too personal. You can even email it to me if you prefer. flappinessis@gmail.com

  17. Liz says:

    So beautifully said

  18. Shannon says:

    Autism has brought many gifts to my life that I would have probably never know without my son. The best gift is understanding. Understanding of people, understanding of importance, understanding of unconditional love, understanding of life. This gift has helped me in all aspects of my life, from work to loving my child. I work with animals as a handler everyday from birds to snakes to kangaroos and I can totally relate to your thoughts and it makes complete sense. One day I was watching a “mob” of roos it dawned on me that I was watching these animals trying to be a part of their lives learning from their behavior, my son was doing the same thing only he was watching people and trying to learn how to be human. I understood, From that day one I saw my son in a new light and felt that all was not lost, my accept this and get on with life moment. My job allows me to touch the hearts of many people, and I know now how much it means to a special needs family to spend just a few extra minutes with their child on their terms without judgement. My understanding gives me joy, love, and faith.

  19. Heather Murray says:

    Autism has given me the gift of living today and trying not to worry about tomorrow. Granted, this gift does not apply to my A type planner husband but it has allowed me to appreciate moments I might have been too busy worrying to see.
    Thanks for sharing!

  20. Kelly says:

    I like what you wrote. I think I’m in the same vote. I’m no hard core church person but I do believe. I believe that god gave me my 2 boys with autism as a gift. While some might say it is an unusual gift, I would say it was the most perfect thing to get. Autism is a thief…but sometimes it opens you eyes up to things that really matter and the true meaning of unconditional love. To love a child so much, even if they have a tantrum that they wrong elevator showed up, or that they don’t play properly…you still love them and will do anything for them…and that… is a gift.

  21. Robin says:

    I go with Rachel and “nothing”. I have to say it wasn’t autism that turned me away, but the death of Finn’s twin at two months & the lack of support from the pastor at the church I was attending because my significant other and I aren’t married. My twins were born at 25 1/2 weeks, my baby Jude Elijah passed away from Cytomegliavirus when he was exactly 2 months old. Do I thank God for taking my baby from me? When they were born he was the healthier of the two. I do thank my blessings every day that I have my little love Finn, autism and all. I could have had neither of them. But keeping any sort of faith I find difficult. I love my children more than life itself & always will. My oldest are 20 year old twin boys, then my 14 year old son, Finn who is almost 5, and last but not least my 15 month old little princess who has four wonderful older brothers! I am blessed, but lack the faith.

  22. Lis says:

    I think life with Autism has given me laughter. My son is 3, has ASD, apraxia, and all those other abbreviations that go along with being on the spectrum. He makes me laugh, he makes me stop and enjoy the moment. And I too have often begged God to spare my kids, to take away Autism and give me back my child. I don’t know if I’ll ever stop believing in God, somehow it seems less lonely to have God there. Even if he doesn’t seem to hear me begging on a daily basis.

  23. Ilene Martin says:

    Although I am not the parent of a child who has autism, I am the parent of a disabled adult. My son has severe Cerebral Palsy, and, like you, I have suffered many thoughts and feelings that parents of “normal” children have not. Your blog this time, is a very good one as it touches on something we all wonder about from time to time. It is very difficult to raise such a child to adulthood, but, I believe that I have done a superb job, if I do say so myself.

    The most unusual gifts I have received are the people in my life. I have met and discarded people along the way. I divorced and remarried. The father of my disabled son was the wrong one; the stepfather is amazingly, the right one! I have met people that I never would have met had it not been for my son. I sometimes find it hard to believe that there is “a God” watching over us, but, most times, it is hard NOT to believe so.

    Keep on writing and I will keep on reading. Hang in there; whatever you are doing, will always be the right thing for your child.

  24. Lisa says:

    Beautifully written.

    Autism’s biggest gift to me has been patience. My timeline is not the overruling one, and I have come to be more accepting of that. Milestones and progress won’t happen upon my command…and we have had to slow down, take deep breaths, regroup, try again, and wait and see…all of which are hard for me…but I am learning.

  25. Amy says:

    One of my favorite posts on the subject of belief – ever. So honest and true.

  26. mareeajones says:

    ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL — thank you!

  27. Joanna K-V says:

    I just coordinated a bible/book series group based on Debbie Hall’s book TRUSTING GOD IN THE TOUGH TIMES where she took you on her journey of getting through raising 3 kiddos, 2 of whom are on the autism spectrum. It’s so inspirational because she showed the angst she went through for years and how her faith in God supported her through that journey.

  28. WonderWoman says:

    Regarding faith, can’t say that I’ve ever not had it. I have my faith, my beliefs and I share them too. This is not to judge. This is because my faith/belief is not something I have or something I do, it is the very core of who I am. I have friends of different opinions and respect those who also respect.

    I love this part – ‘ I believed –because of science. Because nature is science. Instincts are a part of nature. In nature, instincts serve a purpose. Instincts kick in during moments of fear. And my instincts reached out toward God. I have strong respect for animal instinct. Human beings are animals, and we, too, have instincts. We too follow Mother Nature. So why would nature push me toward a God that wasn’t there? In an odd way, it is because of science that I believe in God. A roundabout way to get there if there ever was one.’ A neat perpective on the whole science doesn’t support a higher power issue. 🙂

    My Autism ‘gift’? Understanding, clarity, hope and focus. I’ve worked in the school system for several years. I also know what it looks like. When I started questioning our parenting skills about why our child is so troubled, defiant, strange, …… it was very depressing. We have not gotten an official diagnosis, but at the point when I became convinced, after the crying, I found the above mentioned gifts. I have a beautiful, brilliant little girl in my life. (She’s high functioning?) So many things now have become so clear. I know understand the meltdowns are not the same thing as a tantrum. I am no longer embarassed. And, that in itself made me hate myself as a mother. She is not defiant. 🙂 She is still strange to many, but I don’t care. She is my princess, our diamond in the rough shining brilliantly beneath the surface! So really, Autism gave me a little princess after all!

    Thanks for letting me say this. I need a tissue now. 🙂

  29. MarthaB says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. I belive too and I have a son on the spectrum.

  30. Reblogged. Like to do something inspirational and about faith on Fridays. Very busy day today, so you have saved me lots of time.

    Off topic or maybe not. The novel I am trying to finish and self-epublish by my 75th birthday in March–deals with faith and no faith. Merlin the Wizard is cast as a atheist who believes God is man’s creation, but moves during the course of the novel to a more agnostic and hopeful position. Reflects my spiritual journey. Stay strong, you are certainly helping others do the same.

  31. Reblogged this on Emotfit's Blog and commented:
    SHARING KNOWLEDGE AND FAITH as today’s Daily Post Challenge. Thank you Flappiness for this.

  32. CMC says:

    Parenting autism has given me gifts of creativity and resourcefulness beyond anything i could have imagined i had. From having to find a way to stop D breaking the tv by pushing the button on/off for hours or creating something amazing from nothing for one of D’s siblings because we haven’t been able to leave the house for a week – now i love to create, and the feeling of a successful solution!
    And I have kept my belief in a loving God.
    Thanks for a wonderful and thought-provoking post.
    – I’m travelling the autism journey with Danny, now 13.

  33. Jen says:

    I know my son’s autism has made me more faithful to God. Since I don’t have the answers or know what direction to go in with my son I am left to depend on God for answers. I pray and opportunities present themselves. Its what He wants….He wants us to love him and want him and its all free will. I’m glad you wrote of your atheist friend. I do think we believers can really mess things up. God gives us free will to love him or not. Its the same free will that I have to love my husband. How meaningful would our marriage be if I was forced to love him? I have many friends believers and non-believers…what’s important is our friendship first!

    http://survivingautism.blogspot.com/

    • FlappinessIs says:

      Yeah, I’ve always kind of thought that maybe – just maybe – God has a special place in his heart for those who have struggled with their faith. He knows how hard we are working on it.

  34. Brandi says:

    What a wonderful way to put it. I think you are spot on yet again. I must admit that autism has given me a much greater appreciation for my “normal” children and a joy in the smallest triumphs. I don’t take any part of their growing up for granted. I relish every milestone, yet it is a bittersweet joy knowing my autistic child may never do/be/accomplish any of the same things. He is now 12 and has some language, but I still hold hope in my heart for a happy life for him. I guess you can say that autism has taught me the meaning of faith and hope.

  35. I`d like to think I`m an athesiest, but I (and my hubby) more often describe ourselves as “nothing” We don`t NOT believe in any deity, but we don`t believe, either. The diagnosis of Autism in our 5 year old son did not change any of that for us.
    But it makes me want to punch people in the throat when I get (from the hard core bible thumpers) is… “Oh, God has a special plan for Sam, that`s all”
    Right.
    If autism is part of a special plan, then what the hell does “God” have in store for the rest of us???
    Autism sucks. Having a child with autism sucks. And I love the hell out of my kid, but I`m in no way going to sugar coat it, and I do hate others that try to force that upon me.
    Thanks for a real blog. Cheers and kudos.
    Parents of “flappers” unite!
    Rach

  36. TracieCarlos says:

    My relationship with God has definitely evolved which I am so pleased about.
    I grew up in a faith I never questioned at one time because the adults said it was ‘correct’ but there were things that simply did not make sense. As I grew up, the questions became larger and more in my face. When our son Connor was diagnosed those questions needed to be answered and somehow, I knew I would find them. After his diagnosis, I went through all of those wonderful emotions of anger, depression, loss, fear, frustration to anger once again with God and then I began to become hopeful. The more hopeful I became the more answers that came, the more answers that came the more hope I felt until I could finally see the beauty in all things. Not all the time but most of the time. I realized I was awakening within, finding a connection to Source, the Universe, All that is or that which I call God. The meaning of the full understanding from within about the phrase, “It isn’t what you are given but how you deal with it” total paraphrase, that I found resonance within. I now know the bigger the problem the equivalent solution is born and as I find those things that feel wonderful to ponder I am allowing that solution to come into focus. I now see the beauty within my life, I see the beauty of the problems because without them I could not know the sweetness of the solutions and because while I am a spiritual being in human form, there will always be expansion and that is why I came. I see the beauty and the gift of Awetism and it is OK with me if another parent does not see it, we all have our own journey to walk. Yes indeed, this has been a life changer to be certain and I am so pleased to be where I stand in this journey with my little Connor as my most profound teacher in this life experience so far.
    Love,
    Tracie

  37. B.C. says:

    Great post! I’m atheist but I think if more people had the attitude you do of “you respect me, I respect you”; the world would be so much better for us all. 🙂

    • FlappinessIs says:

      Thanks, B.C.! I’ve never understood people threatened by other people’s views? Are their own convictions so weak they fear the competition? Often, opposing views strengthen and inform my own. I’ve always enjoyed a healthy debate. But some folks don’t understand the difference between debating and fighting, do they? Thanks. 🙂

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