Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Autism Answer: I Choose Guilt For A Moment (but Only A Moment)

I went for a walk with my son, Tyran, while he was visiting me last month. We ran into a childhood friend of his and stopped to say hello. 

We both knew this friend of his was getting into trouble and struggling. My son was friendly but not so friendly as to try and rekindle a friendship. I was friendly, and tried to offer annoying grown up advice. "Make good choices" type of advice. While being cool and not lecturing of course, which probably made my lecture-like intentions more transparent. 

Well, not long after that this childhood friend of my son's broke into a nearby home with some buddies and, discovering the neighbor unexpectedly home, a tragic shooting took place. The home owner and one of the boys breaking in were killed.

My son's childhood friend will likely be in prison for a long time. I keep remembering that day when we ran into him. I keep feeling like somehow we failed him. But, to be honest, we hardly even knew him. 

The truth is, my son was right to be friendly but careful, and I was right to offer grown up annoying advice. Advice that could have saved some lives but (as I well knew) was unlikely to. 

And though I know better than to feel any true guilt, I prefer my little nagging of "what could we have done different" over the less useful and far crueler "those boys had it coming, I'm glad one of them got killed" that I've heard from others. 

Life has tragedy and horror. But that is no excuse to stop reaching out or to fear our neighbors. If anything, it is a cry for more reaching out and more love for our neighbors. 

Often, you won't make a difference. But if we all do it, with all of our neighbors, all of the time.......

Well, wow! I'm certain that will make all of the difference. 

Hugs, smiles, and love!!
Autism Answers with Tsara Shelton (Facebook Page)