Today, on #FridayReflections, the prompt is: “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” There is a certain alchemy about words and the process of expressing yourself.
Bil, my developmentally disabled brother in law, has problems communicating but, without fail, he is always true to himself. Here's one example:
There is very little, in my opinion, funny about the upcoming Presidential election.
Bil, however, thinks in different ways than many of us. Having autism means that it is difficult, many times, for him to communicate his thoughts with us. If he laughs, it is (many times) at private jokes. He will burst out laughing at the dinner table or while listening to some of us talk, whether or not the topic of discussion is funny (to us, that is).
Bil goes to a day program two or three times a week, where he is encouraged to engage in various activities - exercising, bingo, Sudoku , and even coloring. A couple of times a year, family members can attend a review of Bil and his progress.
At the last review, my spouse, one of Bil's brothers, was told that Bil likes to tell political jokes. And apparently, they are good ones (or at least not anything that upsets anyone).
It's nice when you hear about a side of someone else you think you know. It is so hard to know Bil because he is closed off to us so much of the time.
But he loves to watch, to observe.
Which brings me to another man who loves to watch, to observe, and to use his words.
His name is Garrison Keillor and many know him for a weekly show he did for many years until recently - A Prairie Home Companion.
What I never knew, about recently, is that Mr. Keillor is on the autistic spectrum. Just like Bil.
Is there a hidden Garrison Keillor inside of Bil? We may never now, but I suspect his inner life is quite rich. And, every minute, he is true to himself.
Can we say the same?
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