Pop and I braved the rain this morning and went to church. We went to Fairfield United this time and took our little dog with us. It was a Blessing of the Animals service, where people are encouraged to bring their animals for a blessing. It was fabulous. It was an intergenerational service, which means there is no Sunday School, and the kids stay upstairs the whole time. They make these more kid friendly by either having no sermon or a very short, easy to understand one. Today was awesome. They showed a video of animals who were raised together, abused, rescued and then separated. They wouldn't live apart happily. So they put them together. A lion, a bear, and a tiger. Pop loved that. There was a little activity where we tossed around a ball of yarn, which went remarkably well in a room full of dogs. The songs were even kid friendly. We sang The Unicorn. :) So that was fun! And no one even told me I couldn't sit where I wanted to. Whee!
I like taking Pop to church. It's a good place for him to get to socialize with other kids, and the supervision is really good. He's doing so well. I cannot believe what Son-Rise is doing for him. He's amazing. Last week, at BC Children's, the doc said, "I cannot believe this. This is amazing. What are you doing?!" So I told her. She shook her head and said, "That shouldn't work this well. This child does not seem at all autistic to me!" YAY! However, on Wednesday at Sportball, I talked to his coach for the first time. Coach (as all the kids know him) said, "Pop had a great night. Really worked hard." I said, "Not bad for a kid with autism, hey?" He said, "OH! Ooooh. That explains everything. Now I understand." LOL. Not as recovered as I'd hoped, eh? Guess it's good that I'm going back to the Option Institute (Autism Treatment Center of America) in a couple of weeks.
I've been thinking a lot about why I take him to church other than socialization. I suppose many would call it indoctrination, and I guess that might be fair on some level. But mostly, it's that I want him to know God like I do. God is a source of joy and comfort to me. God helps me be a better person. I want to look at people and see them the way God does. It would be so easy to just write some people off as assholes and let them go. But I can't do that and call myself a good Christian. God tells us to love our neighbour. To love our enemies. That whatever we do to the least of God's people, we do to God. So I cannot say, "to hell with you" without saying to hell with God. And I want Pop to have that too. And I don't see that being reinforced much of anywhere else.
Except at the Option Institute. I love that place. The whole goal of that place is to help people love. Love themselves. Love others. It's amazing. I once asked Bears (Barry Kaufman) if there was anyone he didn't like. He thought about it a while and said, "No. I can't think of any reason not to like someone." He continued, and I'm paraphrasing: I might not like everything someone does, but what people do is not who they are. Good people do horrible things sometimes because they're so deeply unhappy. He said that he'd once taught a class full of Jewish people and told them they didn't have to hate Hitler. Said he didn't make many friends that day, but that the odd one understood, and that was okay.
I want that. I want to be able to look at people that society calls evil and see them the way God would. I want to love them, while being smart enough to enforce safety boundaries. I want to be able to decide I don't want someone in my life without needing to hate them first. And I want to be able to be happy even when those who are close to me aren't happy, or aren't there any more. So... more Option Institute learning, and lots of prayer.
edited to add: The Option Institute is not religious in any way. They're not Christian or Jewish or Muslim or Buddhist or or or. It's all about love. :)