I took Jingle to the Farmer’s Market yesterday morning. After tactfully extricating myself from a conversation with my Mennonite friend who was adament animals have no souls, I walked around with purpose, gathering my wares.
“Good girl, Jingle! Good girl.”
After finishing shopping I took the opportunity to walk Jingle around the whole market, getting her acclimated without Riley in preparation for the next outing with Riley. One woman stopped me to ask about her. Then another stopped, then a man, who kind of hung back, listening to the conversation. He seemed a bit odd. Perhaps homeless? Perhaps mentally ill? I couldn’t put my finger on it.
“She’s a service dog for my daughter. We just brought her home two days ago.”
“Is your daughter blind?” a woman asked.
“She has autism.”
The man stepped forward and touched me on the forearm.
“I just had to touch you. Bless your heart,” he said, beaming kindness.
He was holding me in reverence because my child has autism.
Most of us who have kids on the spectrum have been looked at with scorn. With judgement. With pity. With blame. With, “Whew, thank God I dodged that bullet.” I don’t know if I’ve ever received reverence before.
My first thoughts about this man were, “Perhaps homeless? Perhaps mentally ill?” I couldn’t put my finger on it.
Perhaps angel? Perhaps teacher?
Perhaps a reminder to hold reverence, for everyone.