As a word-lover, I often “act” first with words. And that can help.
But sometimes words aren’t necessary.
My son shows me this every day.
My son can’t talk. No one knows exactly why. Incredibly smart specialists and doctors can’t figure him (and his various medical needs) out. We don’t have a lot of answers and likely won’t receive any answers soon.
And yet, he loves.
My son loves to love. Intensely. Fiercely. From his sometimes-too-tight hugs to other kids to his ever-widening smile, he loves.
And he loves and shares that love all without words.
He uses sign language, yes, and he can make himself known through gestures and a shockingly-astute observation and use of feelings.
My husband and I occasionally struggle to figure out what our son is trying to say.
But, the big stuff? He shares the big stuff – the lovestuff – intensely, accurately, and often.
His instant smile captivates attention first, then hearts. His eagerness pulls others into what he’s excited about. His perseverance, strength, and joyfulness are fully God-given.
For that big stuff, he doesn’t need words.
Propaganda, an incredible lyricist and hip hop artist, recently released a new album titled Excellent. (Because of the nature of the album label, Humble Beast, you can download the entire album free here. Crazy awesome, I know. Support the artists in other ways here, too.)
Propaganda wrote a song (featuring Sho Baraka) called “I Ain’t Got An Answer” on this new album. The entire song is powerful, but this verse in particular speaks to me:
“It’s apparent, sometimes I think I’ve failed as a parent
And my son having autism is roughBut maybe he don’t speak
Because words don’t say much
Maybe he don’t need words to communicate his love
And sometimes the silence it causes me to stumble
It’s possible he’s a version of me that’s more humble
And I think my child finds more joy in playing with my phone, playing on his own
Will he shed a tear when I’m gone?
I’m wrestling with the shame of an outsider’s view of me
His life is a spotlight on my own insecurities
But I know his laugh, it lights up a thousand rooms
And when he speaks to me, it’s just like a flower blooms
This has just become my own digital diary
I’m at the doctor’s office, just hoping they will lie to me.
My son will be alright, but if he’s not, my son will be alright because he is God’s
Autism, sickle-cell, or Down syndrome
Still keeping the faith in the midst of hard-living
We stand together ‘cause we have no other place to go
My son and I we live and fight even though
I ain’t got an answer
Man, I ain’t go answer”
The end of the song says:
“I’m not the answer, this album, this song, these records – they ain’t your answer
I don’t know the answer, but I know Who got the answer
Let’s all point to the Savior together, boy
Look, I ain’t perfect and neither is you
But let’s look to the Man that knows it…”
Italicized and bold lyrics are my emphasis.
(To the artists, forgive me if I got any of these lyrics wrong. I wrote them as I listened. Over and over and over again. Thank you for this song.)
I don’t have many (or hardly any) answers about what will happen with our son, and I let fear in way too often (God, help me), but I can-and will and choose to-trust the God who knows. The God who made my son just the way he is—without words, with fervor, and with love. And he’s beautiful.