In my own small effort to bring more awareness about autism to our community here in Greece, I’ve maybe confided in three of my new coworkers about P’s autism diagnosis. Today I was talking with one of these coworkers when she mentioned I ought to get a priest to perform some kind of special blessing for my son, to drive away evil forces that may possibly be the reason that my son is autistic, and non-verbal. I was taken aback, to say the least. Jeez, I thought, when it comes to autism people have no effing idea, do they? Her comments almost made me feel as if I was being punished for some reason, by God. My sister Tina said to me once that when she was a little girl she wasn’t afraid of the dark, or of spiders or snakes. She was afraid of God. If you do something bad God will punish you she kept hearing over and over. So in her small child’s world there was no greater fear than the fear, and at the same time love, of God. What a strange relatioship,no? Maybe it’s because of my Catholic high school days and the sisters’ stress of Christ’s humanity, rather than His divinity, but I always felt that God could be one of us. Is that weird? I mean, he could be the old man on the train that no one is giving their seat up for. Or, the drug addict begging for change that you pretend you can’t hear. Thinking like this actually makes you think twice before being rude to someone you don’t know. At least, that’s how it’s worked for me. Anyway, I’ve always felt like I had a pretty cool relationship with God. I believe in Him and I pray to Him. I would hate to think that He is punishing me for past sins by giving my sweet kid autism. That’s just stupid. Panayioti’s been dealt a raw deal but the God that I know, that I believe in, would never do this to him on purpose or keep him from speaking because I don’t go to church every single Sunday. I think at the end of the day, the person I believe in most is my son and if and when the day comes that he speaks I’m going to thank Him.