The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me. ~ Psalm 16:6 nasb

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

For Just a Moment

Autism stays at the back of my mind pretty much constantly.  Every time I work with Joseph to teach him a new task, every time I try to have a conversation with him, every time he doesn't respond--it's always there, this strange thing that causes him to do what he does, to communicate how he does, to speak how he does.  Now that he's almost 24 years old, I think about autism a lot.

Sometimes, though, there's a small slice of time when it disappears.  A stranger looking on would never guess that autism affected Joseph's life in any way.

My dear friend Tressey and her husband hosted a birthday party for their son a few weeks ago.  This was no ordinary party with games, cake, ice cream, and gifts.  They paid for an afternoon of rock wall climbing.  Thomas (16) was totally up for it, and Danny (19) was as well, if his college studies would allow him some time off.  I didn't bother asking Joseph--he would come along with us, with some reading material or something else to keep him occupied while the rest of the group climbed.

While I was washing dishes, and Joseph was helpfully drying, I was describing how the kids would climb up the walls.  Joseph made some comment about climbing, so I sought to clarify.

"Are you thinking about climbing with the other kids?"

Joseph answered, "I think I should."

Well, okay.  Not sure what that meant, and pretty sure he'd sit on the sidelines.  It was what it was.

The four of us made it just in time to watch and listen to the orientation, and I watched as Thomas and Danny got their harnesses on.  I watched as they helped Joseph get a harness on.  Well, now.

That was a step, at least.  They watched Isaiah demonstrate how to climb up the wall.

Danny (left) and Thomas (right) prepare to climb.

Thomas climbed right on up the wall, easy-peasy.  :)

As Danny hooked himself up, Joseph looked up.  I wonder what he was thinking as he stared way up there to the top, a seemingly insurmountable climb.

Danny did his best to hold on while he encouraged Joseph to follow.  Which he did.

Danny went on ahead, since Joseph was climbing slowly.

As Joseph looked for a foothold--and a handhold--I caught a great shot of his face.  He was concentrating, but there was no fear.  There seemed to be only a look of calm interest on his face.

To give you perspective of (almost) how high Joseph climbed, here's a shot taken with my smart phone.  (I have no wide-angle lens for my camera, so this was the best I could do!)

For a few moments on the side of a rock wall, there was no autism.  There was just Joseph, and a handhold, and a foothold.  And his courage.  And my joy.

Back to life,

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