FINDING JOY IN TROUBLING TIMES
One thing I didn’t worry about too much was how the Little Rankster would react. By and large, he just doesn’t pay too much attention to the news of the day. Then I read a post by my friend, Christina (a/k/a Good Rockin’ Mommy Guilt) on her new blog at Chicago Parent. (I have to say that the new blog really showcases what an exceptional writer she is.)
Christina posed the question of how one explains the horror of a day like the Blacksburg massacre to a child on the spectrum. And I had to think about it. Right now, my son is just too innocent to understand the concept of evil, but some day another tragedy will occur when he’s older ⎯ at a time when I hope he’ll have developed a true sense of empathy and realizes the horror of what has occurred. How can I possibly help him put it all in perspective.
After considering the dilemma, I realized I would tell the Little Rankster about the day he was born. I’d tell him of the joy that day brought to his mother and me. I’d tell him how the joy has remained undiminished ⎯ and has even grown with every day ⎯ despite the challenges his regression into autism brought. I’d tell him how proud of him I was on the day of his birth, and how proud I am of him every day of his life.
I’d spend hours telling him how full my heart is because of him. And then, I’d tell him how around the time of his birth (give or take a couple of hours), a couple of very sick young boys in a place called Columbine, Colorado, decided to insert themselves into the history of evil. I’d tell him of the heartbreak for the parents of those children whose lives were cut short by an unspeakable act. For those parents of Columbine, and now those parents of Blacksburg, the heartbreak is hopefully mediated somewhat by the joy their children brought them in life.
I thank God I haven’t had to face what the parents of the Virginia Tech tragedy are now going through. But that lack of experience gives me a perspective that allows me to understand that for every tragedy ⎯ even those of this magnitude ⎯ there are countless miracles that bring hope and joy. And the greatest miracle of all is love.
Happy Birthday, Little Rankster!