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  • Writer's pictureConnie Almony

The Love Giver

Ahhh, safe at home again after our long drive from Pennsylvania spending the Thanksgiving holiday with my in laws. Family is so important. Even my non-verbal autistic son knows this. We told him not to hug grandpa goodbye this time because grandpa had a bad cold, but he insisted and made noises until we finally relented. Normally, as often happens with children who have autism, he backs in for the other person to hug him. This time he leaned in and pressed his cheek to grandpa’s.

Grandpa beamed.

Maybe it was because grandpa was ill, or maybe my son is aware that grandpa’s 91st birthday had just passed and time is fleeting. Either way, he understood the patriarch of the family needed a little extra love.

But that’s how my guy works. His autism is the opposite of aspergers. His gentle touch and thoughtful reminders to "pway" have been a blessing to our family. Even his one-word, and sometimes completely wordless (believe it or not) sense of humor fills us with laughter after a rough day.

He's quite the comedian.

Most don't know this about him. They only see that he has learned not to engage strangers because people often avoid engaging him. And yet, he is a Love Giver at heart. I've written this quality into the ten-year-old character, Tibo, in Flee from Evil. Just thinking about it gives me peace.

It’s amazing how much we miss when we don’t look deeply into people. We see all their faults and flaws on the outside, and never take the time to see the blessings God bestowed to the heart.

I’m grateful I now go to a church with people who not only take the time to greet my son, they sometimes treat him like a rockstar. At first, he was apprehensive with all that attention, because he was so unused to it. They’d ask for a high-five. He’d turn his head from them as he patted their out-raised palm. “Talk to the hand,” we all joked. But they persisted in greeting him. Now, he still turns his head … and smiles that mischievous grin that tells us all he’s doing it on purpose so they'll joke about it. We laugh, then he turns and laughs along with us.

Little gems of Joy are all around us. Reach out to someone this holiday season who you may have ignored in the past. See what I mean. Become a Love Giver yourself.

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