Story by Joseph J. Mazzella (Author)
“Please God let my son be normal!” I was a young Father. My first born son had been diagnosed with Autism two years earlier. His speech wasn’t developing right. He had many repetitive behaviors. Often he would cry for a long time for no reason. My daughter who had been born two years after him was developing normally, out-pacing her brother. My wife had been content with just the two of them but I’d wanted another son. I wanted a normal son. My ego wanted a son who would be just like me and carry on the family name. The doctors at the time had assured us that the chances were one in ten thousand that we would have another child with Autism. Still, a part of me was afraid. When we discovered then that my wife was pregnant with a boy again, I remember saying this prayer, over and over and over.
As my third born child grew up, however, it soon became clear that the doctors had been wrong. It soon became clear that he had an even more extreme form of Autism than his older brother had. While his brother had eventually learned to talk, read, and learn my youngest son could say only a few words. His Autistic behaviors were much more severe. He had many crying fits and would hit himself. He tore things up and broke things. He had trouble relating to us and was mainly lost in his own world. God had said, “No” to my prayer.
The journey that followed has been a long and difficult one for my sons, my daughter, their mother, and myself. It still goes on today. It has been full of stress and pain but also learning and growth. It forced all of us down a path we didn’t want to go, but it was a path that led us all to greater love, faith, and kindness. In the end my two boys became my greatest teachers on how to live and how to love. My oldest son now is a fountain of kindness who gives out hugs easily and happily. His younger brother still doesn’t speak much but has a laughter and innate joy that brightens my soul each and every day of my life. I often think that if I could one day learn my oldest son’s love and my youngest son’s joy that I would know how the angels feel.
I am no longer mad at God either for saying, “No” to my prayer. If He had said “Yes” I would never have become the person I am today. I wouldn’t be writing this right now. I wouldn’t be trying so hard to remind my readers of just how much God loves them.
Sometimes God says “No” to something we ask for in order to give us something much better. Sometimes we don’t know why some of our prayers are answered while others aren’t. All I know is that God loves us all. God has a plan for us all. And sometimes we just have to trust even if we don’t know the answers.
Live your life with love then. Trust in God to lead you down the path you are meant to go. Let Him guide you through this life and into the next.