A ripple of change

At MB’s all-school Meeting for Worship in December, students guided us with the query: What are the gifts within us that we can share with others? What are the non-material gifts we give to each other every day? Several students shared reflections, including this one:

by Georgia S. ’18

A small rupture in still waters from a simple drop causes the entire motion to change. An unexpected change, even before I was born, impacted my life in a much more colossal way than a ripple in calm waters. My brother, Spencer, was born profoundly autistic. I don’t remember how old I was when I recognized the judging eyes always fiercely watching him. Some followed him with anxious glances, some with curious stares and some even with pitying looks. Maybe it was in first grade that I noticed that those eyes were reflecting a different person than the Spencer I had always known. Then I began to see that he was not like the other student’s brothers. Those eyes did not understand, didn’t see the progress he’d made and the real truth inside of him. His face was a mask, and most people could not see the potential hidden behind his distant but loving eyes. He is a goldfish encaged in a glass bowl, eager to become himself in a world that accepts him for who he truly is. I know he’s thinking of all the incredible things he notices and longs to say. Rather than using words, he sings and hums unique noises, like the sounds of a beautiful and cryptic rainforest waiting to finally be discovered and explored.

The pride I feel for the way he is learning to express himself is astounding. His smile, bright and blissful, reflects right back on my face. He is aware of how much he means to me, and I know that he loves me, too. I have hope that one day people won’t see him as simply handicapped. He is a gift to many lives, a glowing star inspiring anyone who may have the pleasure of becoming part of his world. He has overcome many of the limits that have been put before him.  From once having so much trouble walking, he now walks as though nothing holds him back and even walks on the treadmill in his room for an hour a day, and always with a happy attitude. It’s an unexplainable feeling that I share with him.  Not a feeling I’m expecting many people to understand, but it’s incredible to realize how far he’s come and how blessed I am for all he does in my life. Everyday is different, but each day brings Spencer a different challenge and surprise in his life and my family’s, and I am so glad I get to be a part of it.

People ask me questions about why this is the way he has come to be, and I try explaining to the best of my abilities. The answers are yet to be uncovered for now, but I am willing to wait. The time we share together is time well spent. It’s the simple, little pleasures that make me feel better and give me a happier attitude to last me the day. Whether it’s feeding him, watching movies by his side, or watching him excel in learning or expressing himself, spending time with Spencer is a gift in itself. He uplifts me with his carefree attitude and contagious smile.

Spencer is much more than autism, much more than a peculiar look. He is extremely smart, genuinely kind and full of life.  Spencer even makes me laugh everyday. These challenges may seem like rough waters, but somehow they always settle and push through to become extraordinary achievements. This drop, creating ripples of change, is a major part of my life. This drop is my brother Spencer, and he has made me an overall happier person and changed my life for the better.

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