As you know, yesterday was Autism Awareness Day.
I plan to stretch out this day into the next week or so, because I have several folks to introduce to you…amazing folks who happen to have autism.
Today, I’d like to introduce you to Jonathan. I wrote about him late last autumn, but wanted to re-post, because he is just that awesome!
My post from October:
Last week, I had the great privilege to travel to Dallas, TX and spend the day at the offices of Insight for Living. My colleagues knew that I was pretty nervous about this trip; there were so many “moving parts” to organizing the whole day, and I wanted everything to fall into place! However, my worry was needless, and our team enjoyed a fabulous time with the Insight for Living “family.” I’m excited to introduce you to them over the next couple of weeks.
Today I want to introduce you to Jonathan, who is the 14 year-old son of Colleen Swindoll-Thompson, and the grandson of Chuck and Cynthia Swindoll. Jonathan will be featured as a speaker for Inclusion Fusion, and he has much insight and wisdom to share about the Church’s role in soothing broken hearts.
Jonathan has been “labeled” with complicated diagnoses as he has grown up. While these diagnoses help his teachers, therapists and family understand him and his needs, the label that most aptly describes him is “Child of the King.” This is a label he wears proudly, and because of this, he has much to teach.
I have “known” Jonathan for several years, as Colleen and I have been friends and colleagues, sharing our kids’ triumphs and struggles. Until our trip to Dallas, however, I had never actually met him. When he rounded the corner in the Insight offices, I knew right away that this long-anticipated moment had arrived.
“Jonathan!” I said. “I’m so glad to finally meet you. I’m Katie.”
His bespectacled eyes regarded me, and he sized me up.
“We’re equal,” he said solemnly.
I smiled. “We are.” I slipped off my heels and said, “And now we’re even more equal!” He compared his height to mine, smiled and nodded and then off he went to find a spot to read.
During our day at IFL, we adults talked a lot about God, suffering, prayer and theology. The discussions were enriching, and both stretched and comforted me. However, nothing that was said came close to inspiring me the way Jonathan’s statement did. In two words, he wrapped up 1 Corinthians 12 in a delightfully boyish and joyful package.
We’re equal. All of us…regardless of size or diagnosis or strengths or needs…and we’re all necessary to what God has planned for the Church.
If you’d like to hear more about Jonathan, click over to Steve’s blog to listen to Chuck Swindoll and Colleen Swindoll-Thompson discuss how Jonathan has blessed their family and enriched their faith.