April – World Autism Awareness Month
April is World Autism Awareness month. As a part of this awareness, friends and neighbors around the world are encouraged to wear blue sometime during the month to increase global understanding and acceptance of people with autism. Today, April 4, our office employees wore blue.
Autism impacts more than just the individual. The entire family is impacted when a family member has an intellectual or physical challenge. And, the community around the family is impacted. While there is no autism within my immediate family or close relatives, I do have two nieces and a great nephew who have physical and intellectual challenges. Sometimes the needs can be taxing on the parents. Yet, my sister and my niece both tell me that they have also received so much more from their children, and state they are blessed to have these gifts that God has given them, challenging as it can be sometimes.
I do have a friend in Pennsylvania who has two autistic sons, and one of our own employees at Catholic Cemeteries who has two daughters with autism. It can be difficult for both of my friends financially, emotionally, physically, and sometimes spiritually. Yet, they persevere and show great love. To them, this is just normal life. My friend in Pennsylvania and my co-worker in the office reflect Job from the bible, who, when under great testing stated (and I paraphrase) “We accept the good from God, why would we not accept the difficulties…”.
Let’s thank God for all the gifts he has given us, both those that bring us comfort, and those that can make us work harder. Both types of gifts are true blessings. AND, let’s all provide understanding and support to those whose lives are so much different than ours. Christ abandons no one. If we are truly his hands and feet, we also must not abandon, but see Christ in each family and in each individual.