No Words Needed

My daughter and I had just finished a successful, (meaning NO major behavior problems) trip to a new doctor’s office.  This was cause to celebrate since she has autism; a pervasive developmental disorder that, in her case, significantly effects communication and behavior.  Our celebration meant a late lunch at one of our local McDonald Restaurants and my daughter, who is mostly non-verbal, was clearly pleased.

We know all the local McDonalds very well, seeing as French fries are a favorite food.  We got out of the car in the parking lot, stretched from our long ride and headed enthusiastically into the restaurant.

My daughter began to follow her established routine, which is to head directly into the bathroom.  I knew exactly where she was going because she never deviates from this plan.  Like most people with autism, she makes sense of her confusing world by setting up her own predictable schedules.

Today was no different.  She made a quick right as we walked through the door to McDonald’s and headed with determined steps to the Ladies Room.  As she rounded the corner, however, she came to a sudden stop.

Standing quietly by the door was a kind looking older man who was obviously homeless.  His white and gray hair was unkempt with a rugged gray beard around his face.  The denim coat he wore was faded and hung loosely around his body.

Most people would step a few feet away and rush past quickly. My daughter did just the opposite.  She paused, if only for a few moments, and touched his worn coat with her hand.  My child, who sometimes struggles to even make eye contact, gazed into this man’s eyes and greeted him with a warm silence.

Of course, my first instinct was to move her along.  After all, I quickly reasoned, she was invading his personnel space.  More honestly, though, my motherly instincts wanted to protect her from this homeless stranger.  But on this day, my daughter was able to teach me something about Christ’s love.  Just as we know Jesus would have done, she did not rush past this fellow human being.  She stopped to acknowledge him, someone who is probably overlooked daily while busy people rush by without even a second thought.  My beautiful child with autism ministered to another without uttering a single word.

The man was obviously taken by my 10 year old, golden haired little girl and watched kindly as she fluttered around the restaurant waiting for her food.  I wanted to speak with him- to somehow express my gratitude for what I had witnessed, but I didn’t have the words.  I guess on this trip to McDonald’s, God had worked through my daughter and the love of Christ had shown through…no words needed.