I posted a bit ago about how I rather dislike the whole Christmas season as a secular package. The whole purchasing season and the obligations, I felt, can detract from the message.
Woodjie is teaching me something different. He loves the Christmas lights, even if he doesn't understand the "message." He LOVES the Christmas lights. HE LOVES THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS!!! He's jumping up and down, waving his arms about and screaming happy about the Christmas lights. I've just got to hold him sometimes and bring him over by the tree to feel him just shake head-to-toe with glee. His little smile. His bright blue eyes.
Did you know he wakes up giving kisses? Did anyone ever know *extreme* joy before he demonstrated it?
You know, I don't worry too much about teaching doctrine to this one yet. Even "Jesus loves me, this I know" might not be getting through. He has a "pray" PEC and he has learned to be silent for just a moment while the blessing is spoken. Is he really praying over his food? I highly doubt it. I used to worry a bit about how that would effect his "walk with God" until I realized... most of us aren't really praying, either. Not really.
I'm not sure how well-connected he's going to be with God as he grows. I know that it's hard enough to present the idea of "no" to him, and the whys behind it. Sin as a concept is a bit beyond that yet still. He's nowhere near understanding that. Is he going to be saved? Not saved? Is there any sort of doctrinal third category into which one heaps the assorted disabled people? Sort of like the "wheelchair" symbol. It's kinda sexless and nondescript. It could be anybody who doesn't fit the "male or female" model. The handicapped? They're almost like a third sex or a third classification of person, pictographically.
No, I don't think that about Woodjie. He's a boy. He's a toddler. He likes doing boy and toddler things. But sometimes I do understand why some organizations use the puzzle piece to symbolize the autistic person. Do they fit? Not fit? Do we say they fit, but they really don't fit? I find myself going back over the Bible and trying to figure out what God has to say about teaching this particular child.
And I'm really finding nothing.
I mean, yeah. Good precepts about "train up a child in the way he should go" and yeah yeah yeah lots of vague generalities. But nothing about "how to make God clear to a non-verbal person" or "how to integrate the people God chooses not to heal for the present moment into worship services." Or anything like that. Or even a MENTION of a non-verbal autistic type person. There were deaf and mute but not people who could hear perfectly well and still didn't speak. Nobody like Woodjie.
Our church has very kind volunteers who genuinely care for Woodjie. They are kind to him, even though he can be difficult to care for. At the same time... I'm reading through the church membership packet and realizing Woodjie will NEVER be a member. He cannot "declare" his faith in Christ. He doesn't even understand the words "faith" or "Christ." Guess he's doomed to Hell.
Crap, that is so not funny. That was me crying while I typed that, ok? And you know, browsing the denominational website, I see all kinds of things about the disabled being a part of the church and how it's important to incorporate them into our family. But Woodjie does not speak. He does not write. He will never be a member on paper, someone considered "one of us" on the church rolls.
Part of me really gets that differentiation. One fellow at the membership meeting quipped that God sure isn't going to be checking our membership cards at the door. And he's right! Then again, the church (you know, the ORGANIZATION, not necessarily the Church, the body of Christ... get a Venn diagram and see there are some that are both, some and/or) shouldn't open itself up to let anyone in to teach its children without some basic agreements on "this we believe." I see both sides of that argument.
But I'm left back where I started. I'm left with this "puzzle piece." I am realizing that it is not a piece at all, but a complete work of God, a reflection of His very image. A wordless reflection, given to me for a season to love and raise.
I am wordless myself, typing this.