I never really know how to start these, so I figure that I would go with the fact that this introduction has been rewritten probably 30 times. It’s way past my bedtime, I have to get up early to go to work in the morning, and I’m craving a snack that I should not eat. Other than that it’s all good, this story has been a long time coming, and I am happy to share it with you. As always, my goal is to give you a little piece of me using the gifts that God has given me, so maybe the combination of my photos and words can be beneficial to you.
As I am writing this, I just glanced to the left of this window and July 25, 2017 was the date of the last blog entry about my oldest son. The entry was titled Artistic/Autistic, and it told the story about some of the amazing things that my son can do. I would also go as far as telling you that up until about 10 minutes ago, I though that I had deleted that blog entry and I had been upset about it for a few weeks now. The deletion of that story is what inspired the words that you are reading now, and I am grateful for that.
God really has a way of making things come together full circle, but it is our job to be still and listen. But listening is hard, it’s stressful, and it can sometimes hurt. Then there comes the time where that forever moving line connects on the other end, and at that moment you realize that you’ve been walking that line all along. That stress, that difficulty, and that struggle that you once felt were tools that prepared the growth that you experienced once that circle came to a close. So now you’re ready for the next one.
To have the knowledge that Autism will always be a thing in all of our lives is sometimes hard, but knowing that the circle we talked about earlier exists will grant you the ability to see the world in a different light. It is our jobs as his parents to always focus on that circle, and to make sure that we provide that solid foundation that he needs in order to navigate through life.
Now that we’ve gotten that out the way…
I find it funny that the fist blog was called Artistic/Autistic, which had nothing to do with actual art. But a little over a year later that circle comes to a close, and I am here telling you another amazing story, but this time it actually involves art. Having a child on the spectrum can sometimes be difficult for adventures, because you have these things called anxiety, stress, sensory overload, and other factors that make it difficult to be around a large group of people. I had to grow to understand this about my son, and it takes a lot of patience and understanding to operate in a manner that takes those difficulties into account.
This story is about being grateful, and how God will put you in a path that seems to have been predestined for you long before you even realized that it was there.
It was not until earlier this summer that my wife and I discovered that our son loves art and art museums. So what do you do when you have a child on the spectrum that loves something? You got that right… You embrace the heck out of it. We have taken trips to the National Gallery of Art, The American Art Museum, and others as well. He loves it, and I am happy that he does. Over the course of time I have tried to do at least one special thing that is specific to each one of my children. While we do things as a family, I believe that there should be that one thing that is unique and just for them. An adventure all of their own.
My life changed a little while ago, and this is where giving and gratitude come into play. I started to see the truth in giving, and how it drastically impacts the things in your life. I often have the tendency to get distracted, so we will stick to the topic here, so that giving speech is for another time. What I will tell you is how God will walk with you on that path, and clear the way for incredible things if you take the time to sit, be still, and listen.
Throughout my photography career, I have had the amazing opportunity to meet some amazing people. Some of those people work for the Smithsonian Institution, and the museums that exist in the Washington, DC area. So just a few weeks ago I get an email highlighting a program called Morning at the Museum. This program grants early access to the museum for individuals that may need a little more assistance when navigating through something as sensory heavy as a museum. They provide an understanding staff, activities, and a quiet environment for people to enjoy the museum free of many of the elements that make it difficult for children on the Autism Spectrum, and with other special needs. While it is so easy to take something that seems so simple for granted, my perspective comes from a different place. I can remember trying to get early access to these museums for my own personal gain, which doesn’t help anyone but myself. Now I am in a place where I can help provide an opportunity for my son who truly loves the experience, and is able to have that experience in a way that is helpful for him. He has a blast at these things, and looks forward to those Saturday mornings. Words cannot express my gratitude for something like this existing. Never in a million years would I have imagined that a perfect path would be paved to allow for something like this. I too love art and art museums, and the sharing of something such as this holds a special place in my heart.
I can go on forever about this, but I will not. I will leave a place for conversation, because that is what is most important. I am not here to promote the museums programs, but I will share this blog entry with them in the hopes that it will help someone else. I thank you for taking the time to read this, and I would encourage you to share this with someone who may benefit from this.
The photo above was taken last Saturday morning at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery during the last Morning at the Museum event. This photo is a representation of what I would explain as peaceful solitude, with the window being the protected eyes that look out into the world. It is in black and white to rid it of any distractions, and is also a representation of how people on the spectrum see the world.