Wednesday, September 18, 2013
The Man in the Mirror...
I caught Brandon looking in the mirror the other day. We were in the bathroom after a toileting routine, and out of the corner of my eye I saw him for the briefest of moments look at himself in the mirror. I wondered what he saw. It looked like he was looking right in his own eyes. Oh, how far he has come since the days at the school in the picture you see. Then, he wouldn't look at anyone really, always looking down or away. Never at anyone really. Most certainly never in a mirror.
But the other day when he did, I wanted to have a magic bottle I could rub and a genie appear to grant me an answer to a question... What did he see? The man he saw, did he understand that it was him or did he just see a person he doesn't know? Does he possess the knowledge to know that the man in the mirror is indeed, him? That who he is looking at is what he looks like? Well, I guess I've used up my three questions for the genie... I'm glad heaven is for an eternity, because that's how long I'll need to be asking God all the questions I want to ask.
I think it was something the Pastor said in church last Sunday that made me think of Brandon and dig out from the archives this picture of him not looking in a mirror! It was something along the lines of how we can't wait until heaven, when our bodies will be perfect, etc. I've been thinking about that a lot as it applies to my "Life with Autism" -- and Brandon. Especially as I'm going through the Experiencing God Bible study and how it frequently asks us to share how we experience God.
I think one aspect of that answer for me, would be in how Brandon is in a way a mirror reflecting that image of what we will be in heaven -- perfect. Who we will be in heaven -- perfect. When I look in the mirror, I can list off a dozen things I see wrong with that reflection. I'll spare you my list. Suffice it to say, I don't first and foremost see someone who was fearfully and wonderfully made as God says in Psalm 139. I see someone who may not have a disability, unless you count the inability to see what I should. But Brandon -- if I were to imagine what he thought when he looked in the mirror and saw that man, that none of the things I think of when I see me -- would ever cross his mind. I think he simply sees a person and perhaps just wonders who it is and why they're in his bathroom. He doesn't possess the "intelligence" of worldly comparison or standards in knowing what a supermodel looks like versus the average woman. What a six pack is and how he must work on his to get a hot girl to like him. He simply has the genius of looking at himself and others through the eyes of God. Seeing in them, what God sees in them.
Brandon is, right here and now on earth, what we can't wait to be one day in heaven. I'm not sure I possess the words to fully explain that. Unstained by the world. A person who is perfect in understanding the things it is that God wants us to be. A person who sees things here as we will in heaven. Labels of "ugly" "disabled" "stupid" "weird" "too big, too small" don't stick to him. And he desires to put no labels on anyone around him either. He has the purity of not knowing what a label is. I think that's the greatest level of perfection we will be in heaven --- pure. To Brandon, his body is perfect. He doesn't know he has a disability. He doesn't know he's different. He doesn't know he's too skinny, has acne now and then, or that he has big ears. He doesn't know he can't sing. He doesn't care what the color is of the hand that helps him. He is, right here and now, the purity and perfection that we look so forward to becoming in heaven but can't seem to find a way to here on earth. I guess that's why I love to be around Brandon. I love who I am when I am with him. Not that I'm better, but because it doesn't matter to him that I'm not better. He thinks I'm perfect just the way I am. He doesn't know another standard. It doesn't matter to him that I sing horribly. That I'm not a supermodel. That I'm not brilliantly gifted or super-smart. I love who I am when I'm with Brandon because when I'm with him, I am simply crazy, mad, wonderful, --- me.
I wonder if the majority of what is made perfect in us in heaven, is healed in our body in heaven, is simply our mind -- in that finally in heaven we see ourselves as God has seen us all along.
I guess that's what I'll never understand about churches who don't actively pursue the disability community and invite them to church or serve them in some way at church... No other community of people will ever see you as you will be in heaven, except for those like Brandon. You can never be around any other population of people on earth who will allow you to see that reflection of heaven, than by loving and serving those like Brandon.
As much as I hate how I have been able to experience God in that way through Brandon, I love that I have been blessed with Experiencing God through Brandon in that way...
How maddening is that.........