Mommy, Did You Jump Out The Window Too?

“Mommy, Did you jump out the window, too?” Dash ( age 8 ) asked me as I half sat, half plopped on his bed to tuck him in. It was one of those questions that said so much more than it asked.  I was stiff and sore from what later we found to be Rheumatoid Arthritis.  For weeks I had been ever so slowly hobbling around the house.  This was Dash’s adorable way of asking me what was wrong.

Last April, Dash “threw himself” out the window on the second floor, so he could “fly” (You can read that story here).  That night he was extremely sore and stiff, and it hurt to move.  When he saw me stiff and sore too, he leaped to the thought that I must have also jumped out the window.

From the Merriam-Webster dictionary:  Empathy is “the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner; also : the capacity for this”

It was so sweet, the way he asked what was wrong. It really showed that he had been thinking about how I must be feeling if I was moving around the way he was when he jumped out the window.  Pretty good for a kid with autism, who is supposedly not able to empathize.

That certainly hasn’t been our experience. Sometimes they may not be able to express how they empathize…but that is a completely different matter from being able to empathize.

It brings me back to the time when we first learned about autism and all the deficits that went along with it.  The books we read about autism had parents talking about how their kids were becoming more real, more human, as they were “coming out” of autism. If they were becoming more real, does that mean they were less real, less human, before?  All kids, no matter how disabled, with what disability, are equally human…equally real, equally whole. Equally the way their Maker made them, in His image.  God made these kids the way they are, with all their special gifts and abilities, to serve a divine purpose.  We may not know what that purpose is in our life time, but we are guaranteed that there is a purpose and that these kids have a wonderful destiny.

Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”

 Genesis 1:27 “So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”


  1. alienhippy said,

    December 12, 2011 at 12:03 PM

    Beautiful post my lovely friend, and your Dash is a beautiful boy.
    Funny how our posts on empathy went out on the same day. 🙂
    Merri, I heard a song in me while reading the last part of your post.
    I’ll add the link, don’t quite know how it connects, but I heard it!
    I know you get me…. 🙂 smiling at you.
    Love you my lovely friend. xxx 🙂

    • Merri Lewis said,

      December 12, 2011 at 12:41 PM

      I love that–hearing songs 🙂 I so know what you mean! That’s the perfect song for this post!

  2. December 12, 2011 at 7:01 PM

    Oh Merri,
    You really are such a huge blessing to me 🙂

    This was so beautifully written and so wonderfully touching to read.

    Thank you for who you are 🙂 xx

    • Merri Lewis said,

      December 12, 2011 at 7:27 PM

      Awww, Thank you Fi! You are twice too sweet 🙂

  3. Westie said,

    December 12, 2011 at 8:22 PM

    I’m yet to experience the autist who has no empathy. I’m sure, as in the rest of the community, there are autists without empathy – but I’m equally sure that the far greater problem is they don’t express their empathy in the way “the experts” are expecting. Which simply shows how much “they” know.

    • Merri Lewis said,

      December 12, 2011 at 8:27 PM

      Oh so true! Makes me wonder who is really lacking the empathy! From my boys (I have two with autism), I see them as more empathetic than the general population, with less ability to express it in ways understood.

  4. December 23, 2011 at 6:09 AM

    Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” – definitely the best translation of that particular quote! “Masterpiece” indeed! Hope you are enjoying that masterpiece of a family this holiday season!

    (Lil extra tidbit you may benefit from – some RA sufferers find their symptoms lessen by removing “nightshades” from their daily diet. I know that includes potatoes and tomatoes and a couple other things… just in case you are interested… )

    • Merri Lewis said,

      December 23, 2011 at 9:43 AM

      I love that verse, and that translation too! Thank you for commenting. Have a great Christmas time with your family of masterpieces as well! And, thank you for you tip about nightshades 🙂

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