Thankful for the Music
The first language that my son ever had was music.
Before his first words were ever formed, he was hum-speaking lyrics to songs. Music was life. Music was connection. Music was his world. And so, we tried to march to his beat.
We juggled around scripts of songs to match our activities. This would create a light in his eyes that could not shine in any other way. He giggled. He connected. He joined us as we joined him in his autism world.
When friends from church mentioned that autism may just be an indication of demonic activity, we were devastated. Desperate for answers early in our journey, we investigated it. We prayed over it. We sat with those salty words packed tightly in our fresh wounds.
If you have dipped into the community of autism, you may know that it is not uncommon for our special families to hear words like these. Those piercing comments, while rooted in best intentions, leave a lasting sting.
My now adult autistic son adores worship music. It inspires him. It moves him. And though he is limited in his communication, his whole being responds to the words and melody of praise. He sways and sings as best he can, even to new songs. You can see it as he tries to pair the screened words to the beats. You can hear it as he blasts his joyful noises, usually pitch-perfect, in what may be a “socially inappropriate” way.
Although those around him are subjected to our unusual ways, there are people who regularly come up to us after church and say,
“Your son just blesses me during worship.”
“He loves music, doesn’t he?”
“He just spoke to my heart during the music.”
“It’s beautiful to watch him sing.”
They shake their head and look at me as if I need to translate what they have just seen.
My son was uniquely and wonderfully made to worship in (just maybe) the purest way. Few people can worship like he does, connect to song like he seems to, or emit a loving light for God like he can. And when he draws people with blessing by worshipping his Creator, I KNOW that is not the work of the devil.
In John 9, we see Jesus and the disciples encounter a blind man. He had been blind since birth. Eagerly, the twelve rushed to Jesus and wanted to know WHAT caused the blindness. They wanted to know WHOSE sin caused this tragedy. In The Message version of this passage, Jesus answered them and said, “You’re asking the wrong question. You’re looking for someone to blame. There is no such cause-effect here. Look instead for what God can do.”
Look, instead, for what God can do.
What I have seen Him do is create an outrageous beauty that translates hard into the spirit of others. I have seen Him speak volumes through my son’s love for His Heavenly Father. I have seen my son preach sermons by simply being who he was made to be. It is transcendent. And I have seen the “goodness of the Lord in the land of the living” with autism.
It is nearing the Thanksgiving season and I am reminded that I am truly thankful for the connections we’ve made with my son through music. But, even more so, I am thankful for whatever kind of extraordinary symphony the Lord has created for him to hear during worship.
There is a rhythm of praise and power that only Blake was made to exude. I have chosen to believe that one day by and by, I will understand it all much more personally.
But until then, I will sway alongside him in my front-row seat, watching in wonder at what God…has done.