More Heroes

For so many years, I thought that having a son with autism had ruined my life. Now I know that it changed my life. It interrupted my life, but it didn’t ruin my life. I still have life, but at 70+ years, I don’t know how much life I have left so I want to thank some of my heroes while I am still able. My heroes helped me to adjust to the changes in my life and I am forever grateful for the part they played in bringing me back to life.

When I was mentally and physically exhausted from dealing with autism, I read a book called “Healing Gifts Of The Spirit” by Agnes Sanford. She said that inside us is a little “pilot light” that never goes out. When we are depressed or ill or tired, we may feel that we have no light, but our pilot light is capable of growing into a flame again. This is echoed in the words of one of the Spinners’ songs, “A tiny spark will remain / and sparks turn into flame / and love will burn once again”.  These are words from “I’ll Be Around”.  Pervis believed in these words during the years that we were separated and he turned out to be right.

Another hero that helped me is Dr.  Wayne Dyer. In “Your Erroneous Zones”, Dr. Dyer said that you can control your feelings because you can change your thoughts about your feelings.  You can take charge of yourself through your thoughts and actions. I could see that PJ couldn’t control his feelings and actions, so one of us had to. I said that I had to adjust to him because he couldn’t adjust to me, but he has adjusted far better than I would have predicted. I don’t know if he has changed his feelings, but he has changed his actions.

In her book, “Lessons In Living”,  Susan Taylor said that we are God’s workers in the field and we have to be careful what we send out into the Universe because what we send out is what we get back. She said that “the challenges and obstacles you encounter in life are the lessons that help you discover your inner resources of love, faith and strength.” That without life’s challenges, we might not ever discover our resourcefulness. (If I had to choose a challenge in life, it would not have been autism, but I didn’t get to make the choice).

I could not talk about heroes without mentioning Temple Grandin. I read her books “Emergence, Labeled Autism” and “Thinking In Pictures”. I have also attended her workshops and talked to her when she comes to Michigan. What an inspiration she is! Temple helped me to see things from PJ’s perspective. Because of her explaining her hypersensitive hearing, I understood why PJ always kept his hands over his ears. Temple said that she wears ear plugs, but they didn’t work with PJ so he wears headphones. She also helped me to understand why PJ liked to get under the mattress. I hope you have seen her movie, “Temple Grandin”.   I have seen her since the movie came out and she is very pleased with it.

Because of my heroes, I decided to have my say about autism. One of my heroes said that “if there is something you genuinely need to say, there is someone who genuinely needs to hear it”.  They said to ask yourself the question, “If not now-then when? If not me-then who?”  After 36 years of living with a son handicapped by autism, I had much on my mind that I wanted to say. There are some things that you want said  and you find out that you have to say them yourself. “If it is to be, it is up to me.”

Until next time; May the Love of God enfold you; May the Power of God protect you.

Claudreen Jackson

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