During the Thanksgiving season, we are encouraged to take an inventory of our blessings and give thanks to the Lord for all that we have. Requests for canned goods, coats, toys and money come in on a weekly basis. We gladly contribute; many folks are not in a financial position to do so and we do so without fanfare. We tell the boys that when you share or help others, you are helping yourself, obtaining that ‘feel good’ feeling. At times though, I run on auto-pilot telling the boys to ‘put this in your schoolbag’ or ‘here, hand this in at school tomorrow’ and go on with my to-do list.
Recently our middle son confided in Sean and me that he is not entirely sure God exists. With all that is going wrong in the world, he doesn’t really “see God”. We talked about it a bit and we explained where we see God working, namely in the healing of Sean’s father (his grandfather), along with a few other life events. Here’s the thing: my middle son, Henry, has high function autism spectrum disorder. He sees black and white. He needs tangible proof and will question you until the cows come home. He is also darn smart so there is typically some practicality to his arguments.
This past week he has really been struggling, both in school with the academic pressure as well as with his impending confirmation. He has been prepping for confirmation via religious education classes and works of service. This week I was pulled aside by his PREP (Religious Ed) teacher and received a call from his guidance counselor at school regarding his ongoing ‘crisis of faith’ and academic stressors. When your 12-year-old says, “show me where God is” it really does stop you in your tracks. At a loss, I recently told Henry that many of us have crises of faith and I told him of my own frustrations. We talked about faith and the importance of prayer. Approaching confirmation, we talked of the Holy Spirit and feeling God’s presence in situations. 2 Corinthians 5:7 says, “for we walk by faith, not by sight,” which is difficult for most of us let alone a preteen with autism.
Thankfully, at the time I had just been putting my grocery shopping list together and recalled the donations requests. I showed him the various requests and we talked about what we, as a family, try to do to help people out. For someone out there, those donations are God working. The Henry/ faith situation is ongoing, and we are working through it. If anything, I’m running a little bit less on auto pilot this Thanksgiving and we are looking for God.