...if I ever go looking for my heart's desire again, I won't look any further than my own back yard. Because if it isn't there, I never really lost it to begin with!... (Dorothy, The Wizard of Oz)
Recently, I was asked to provide a blurb for Bill Stillman's upcoming book, Heart Savants.
I was surprised, and quite flattered, that anyone would ask me what I thought. The first article I ever wrote in Angels on Earth Magazine, dealt with my journey towards accepting the gift of my son's autism during a time when the rest of the world was awfully busy trying to eradicate it. Exploring the spiritual gifts to be had in raising a severely impaired child wasn't a popular stance back then.
Bill's follow up manuscript to Autism and the God Connection is so sensitively handled, and its message so luminous, that I had to stop several times during my initial reading to indulge in a good old fashioned cry.
It troubles me that we as a culture tend to regard neurologically unique human beings as less worthy of life than the average convicted serial killer. So far, the most notable invention rising from a billion or so years of neurotypical human evolution is weapons of mass destruction. I can't think of one thing we, as a species, have done to improve the planet, or simply become a better people.
Bill's new book,"Heart Savants", reaffirms the truth of what my sons with autism have been quietly teaching those who love them for years. If you want to see God at work, look no further than obstacles he places in your path. My children are here for a reason. My children are miracles in the making.
I for one think that the worth of a culture can be best judged by how it cares for its most vulnerable members. If the words my nonverbal son, David, wrote in response to Mr. Stillman's first book are any indication, the man is on the right track:
When you look into the night
The stars are all you'll ever see.
I have chosen instead to see
The possibilities lying in between.
(DMP, 11 yr old boy with severe autism, c. 2006)