When Hope Seems Lost, Remember This

When my brother Willie was diagnosed with autism, he was three years old and I was five.

Neither of us had been to church yet, so I didn’t have much of a God concept. But somehow, I’d already arrived at a very clear idea of heaven. I used to lie awake at night and think about it, so eager for it to be real.

I believed that heaven would be just this: a place where I could talk freely with my brother. It would be a place without the limits of autism on his part or lack of knowledge on mine, a place where I could ask him a question and receive a complete answer.

Willie and Caroline

Willie and me, around the time of his diagnosis

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What If Your Real Self is Really Mad? (Plus a Giveaway!)

You’ve heard the platitudes … 

Honesty is the best policy.

Tell the truth and shame the devil.

An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips.

They make it sound simple, don’t they? As if telling the truth was so straightforward. But for those of us who are accustomed to covering up, getting real is … complicated.

When you start speaking up after years of silence, you’ll discover the land mines in your psyche. You probably won’t even know they’re there until you step on one. The anger and sadness that you stuffed down years ago will rise to the surface. And if you’re anything like me, you’ll hate it.

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What If You Refused to Stop Walking Homeward?

Let’s just be blunt: the last week has been hard.

On behalf of us all, I’d like a cosmic refund. I’d like a do-over, our money back, and some free dessert for the table, please.

Here in the McGraw house, multiple projects stalled, and I felt adrift and unsure. Then the feral cats chose our yard as the new kitty hot spot, leading to a flea infestation. Every time I stepped outside I received new bites, and I’m allergic to them. (Thank God for antihistamines.)

Then I received some disappointing personal news. And after that I heard about the Oregon shooting and dropped into a sea of collective grief. What could anyone say in the face of terrible violence?

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