This book is remarkable, beautiful, and tangible. So few things in the world are all three. I want everyone to read it.
Jason and Sara have five children, and their sweet boy tucked right in the middle is named Jack. Jack has severe autism.
Autism can be a dark place with few answers. One of the clichés of the autism community is, "If you've met one child with autism, you've met one child with autism." Answers are hard to come by, and what works for one kid doesn't work for many others. Jack is their boy, so autism is part of their landscape.
When Jack was diagnosed, Jason found himself stuck in a valley between a deep, sad hopelessness, and the safety of resignation. Hope felt too dangerous. It would be easier to lower his expectations - for Jack and for God.
Jason's book details his extraordinary and honest journey through the Land of Unanswered Prayer, of coming to terms with the fact that God won't change his son. He has written so honestly about the clichés, the hopelessness, the regressions, and the un-answers, but he also shines a light into the darkness to see where joy is hiding.
Who should read this book? Three groups of people:
- Families in the community of autism and Asperger's Syndrome. I think Jason's experience will give a voice to the intimacy of your experience. I imagine you can read this book and say, "Yes. This."
- Anyone who has loved a child (or the parents of a child) with autism. The diagnosis is more and more common, so more and more of us need the empathy and awareness to love well. Jason invites us into his family, his home, and the pages of his journal, to see what this is like.
- Anyone who has ever asked God for healing, provision, and answers, only to hear a resounding "No."
So, basically all of us.
I have a touch of experience with writing through honest grief, so I know the real deal when I see it. No platitudes, no fake answers, no bouquets of fake flowers. This is the real deal.
Aching Joy is out today. And it's the best thing I've read this year.