11/30/2011

Young Heart

Sounds like the title of a dragon movie. In this case, it is the name that, in an ornery voice, my autistic son is giving to "Young Life" - a Christian organization for teens that has a weekly group meeting with kids from his high school. I'm making him go. Partly it is to give him some social experience. But a larger part is that I'm thinking it might be good for the neurotypical kids to have him in their lives. I visited his high school for parent teacher conferences one night and the cafeteria had about 50 tables in it with teachers sitting at all of them. You know how many tables were relevant to my son? 2 of them.

On the other hand, his school has a club called "Circle of Friends" and it is led by a really exceptional teacher and it has a good mix of kids like my son and neurotypical kids. I really enjoyed meeting the group a few weekends ago at one of their meetings and it is a good idea. I think this teacher really "gets" our son and that's such a rare thing to find in this world. God bless the 'normal kids' (all girls, incidentally) who are participating in this one.

In the church, we have a special impetus to figure out how to help people find their callings. After all, someone with a capital 'S' does the calling, and the church is dedicated to the caller, and you see where that point is going... In the case of most people, that calling is hard to find. Will a young person pursue medicine? Start a landscaping business? Join the family business? Become a husband or wife? But for people like our son for whom a career or fatherhood is probably not in the cards ... his calling is staring us right in the face. In 1 Cor. 12.

"For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body— Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you," nor again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you." On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together."

And that's why my son needs to be smack dab in the middle of a youth group. Yes, for his own sake, but this is his calling. God confounds the strong things in this world with the weak things. Our son is indispensable! If we just hide away the weak we'll never learn whatever it is that God wants us to learn by honoring them, by protecting them, by treating them with special care. So it's a win-win deal here.

And even though he's ornery about "Young Heart" right now, I know that they'll probably have potato chips. And that's all he needs to be happy in this world. And there's a lesson in that somewhere for us too.

Update: 11/30, 7:40 pm - just dropped him off. So far so good.

Update: 11/30, 8:47 pm - just picked him up. Hilarious. When he saw me in the living room of the house where the meeting was held, he said (in front of the parents and other adults waiting there), "There was no food!" The father of the family said "believe me, I live here and I always say the same thing." It will be a good opportunity for that boy to learn some manners... The problem is that he is incapable of suppressing exactly what he's thinking at any given time. Now I'm just waiting to find out what happened from the leader. J himself wouldn't say anything other than that "they sang White Christmas" and "they are Christmassy."

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