And in that time my eyes have been opened to the heartache of such a disorder. There are setbacks to overcome, there are mountains of adversity to climb. There are angry tears shed in hot, nighttime showers. There are prayers of longing and frustration whispered into bed sheets. But in the midst of all that is hard and disparaging, there is beauty and triumph, too.
One of the many things I have learned (so far) on my journey with my son is the value of acceptance. The power that lies in a heart that is willing to be open.
To accept is to receive willingly, to "give admittance or approval to." I believe that is exactly what individuals with autism need. They needed to be received willingly; to be understood, loved, helped, and appreciated. They have special gifts and unique talents. They have souls brighter than the sun.
April is National Autism Awareness month, and April 2 is World Autism Awareness Day. On April 2, several worldwide iconic buildings and landmarks--from the Eiffel Tower to the Empire State Building--will "Light It Up Blue" by changing their structure's lights to blue lights, to raise awareness. (Blue being the color for autism initiatives.)
For the last couple of years I have not only been changing my porch light to a blue light bulb for the month of April, but have been inviting my neighbors to do the same. Their response and support has been as tender as it has been inspiring.
This year, I am putting together blue "care"packages for my sweet neighbors! Blue Gatorade, blue light bulbs, blue candy...and in blue gift bags. I created a printable in PicMonkey to attach to the outside of each bag.
(Such a wonderful quote about how autistic individuals can change our perspective for the better!)
I printed several copies of my autism printable on one sheet of matte photo paper. (Which I am in love with!) I trimmed around the edges so that each square would fit a small gift bag, then glued them on. Such a cute way to thank my neighbors for their support.
I encourage you to show your support of autism awareness by wearing blue on Saturday! (Maybe even change the light bulb in your porch light!!) But more than that, my friends, I would encourage you to be a little more patient, a little more kind, a little more aware of those who may seem different from you. (And isn't that everyone?!)
Because here's what I know: Awareness leads to acceptance and acceptance leads to love. And the world could use more of that... Don't you think?