When I watch my sons doing the things they love I see their true selves.
They are unencumbered and free.
There is no diagnoses. No IEPs. No limits.
There is only joy.
It can be seen in their smile and witnessed in their complete surrender to the tactile rainbow of feelings their joy creates.
When my sons are submerged in joy I can see life's simple truth laid out before me as if it were a blueprint. Its message is so clear.
Life is not meant to be endured.
Life is the simple moments.
The small things that catch your breath and leave you with a smile.
Life is about making each moment count.
We walk through our days stuffing the possibility for joy out of our minds and instead we talk responsibilities, deadlines, and appointments.
Meanwhile, my boys and those like them spend their days touching, feeling, hearing and tasting the joy we all seem to miss.
It is as if their autism has given them blinders to push out much of the "busyness" of life we find ourselves bogged down in on a daily basis. Whether they are waving a colorful ribbon in front of their eyes, watching sand fall through their fingers, or laying on their backs watching the trees sway in the wind outside their window. These sensory moments are like holding patterns for them. It is their brain's way of slowing down the onslaught of information rushing at them from all around. These moments are when they overcome the litany of chaos with the only thing that is stronger....Joy.
Last week I saw this exact thing happening while watching my younger son, Noah, swimming at our friend's home. He would run and jump off the diving board again and again and again. Each time I could see his elation at the free fall into the water mounting greater than the jump before. It was then that I reached for my camera.
I snapped this photo just as his feet left the diving board. His arms and legs flung backwards in total submission to the blue water below. In his hand he held a cup filled to the brim. You can see that his eyes were not on the pool below but high in the air watching that small cup of water.
He was mesmerized by a mere cup of water in the midst of a great pool around him.
In my camera lens I saw my son, boundless. Both his mind and his body unconfined by his diagnosis. He was thoroughly in his own element.
And that element, my friends, was joy!
This post is part of SOYJOY‘s What brings you joy contest. Learn more here.