I never taught Greg about God. After all, in Greg's autistic world, if he cannot see something, it doesn't exist. Simple. Yes, this may sound harsh, but true it is. Our family had little time for prayer for the twenty-five years we raised Greg. Only families with a special child will fully comprehend how every minute of our day was occupied with child care. As a sibling to a brother with autism, Adam gets it. He lived it with us. It is impossible to escape the role of "our brother's keeper."
On Christmas Eve our kids were seated at the dining room table. All was calm. We'd prepared a family favorite, and Greg's extra which he has learned to appreciate while living at his group home, Mac and cheese. Jay was cutting the prime rib in the kitchen. I walked into the dining room to serve the Caesar salad. Adam was at the head of the table while his girlfriend, Erika, sat to his left. Greg sat across from Erika.
I walked into the dining room, and as I approached the table, I offered just a little impromptu prayer. "Hey guys...I know we don't pray together, but to whatever God you all believe in, can we please just say a little prayer to ask him to keep our family healthy in the new year?"
Adam glanced at Greg whose hands were clasped in prayer and said, "Look! Greg looks like he is ready to pray." Erika observed, saying nothing, as Greg said,
"God is great. God is good. Let us thank Him for our food. Amen."
I gave Adam the Squaresky glance. Both of us burst out laughing in shock! Erika delighted that in watching Adam's and my reaction. Greg, a young adult with autism who rarely communicates, said the dinner prayer? Jay heard us and shouted from the kitchen, "What did I miss?"
Incredulous at what we'd just witnessed, we called out, "Jay, get in here! You won't believe this!" I asked Greg to pray again. This time, he added the second verse.
"God is great. God is good. Let us thank Him for our food. By His hands we all are fed, Give us Lord our Daily Bread. Amen."
Now in "shy mode", he mumbled the prayer for his father. We'd made too much of it and he wasn't going to recite it any longer. I even tried the videotape it, but the moment was lost.
Somewhere, sometime, somehow, someone taught Greg about Prayer. We suspect the aides at Greg's group home, a quite spiritual group, taught Greg the value of simple thanks to a greater power.
What a wonderful holiday Greg had...complete with this blanket from Aunt Jaime and the myriad wrapped gifts from Aunt Cathy!