Autism and Alleluias. By Kathleen Deyer Bolduc. Judson Press (2010).
Book review by Christine Guth
Autism & Alleluias is a collection of short reflections on the presence of God in the life of an ordinary family, one of whose members has autism and an intellectual disability. Each brief chapter (2-5 page) shares an episode in the author's journey of parenting her son Joel through his teen and young adult years. Readers caring for a loved one with autism or other developmental disability will find much to identify with in her engaging and thoughtful stories and the prayers that follow each one.
For many Christians, the journey with autism in a family member is one that rocks our faith. The world created and deeply loved by an all-powerful God is not supposed to be like this! How is it that God can be who we claim God is, and yet here we are in this muddled mess, struggling with forces that saddle our loved one with such a burden and far exceed our ability to cope? By sharing her stories with compelling honesty, Bolduc helps us to name our own struggle. Yet she does not leave us floundering in the muck. She models for us down-to-earth faith that prepares us to catch a glimpse of God's presence in our own loved ones with autism, our own families, our own lives. God knows, we need it.
When our daily grind is consuming us, offering little in return, we can savor the wisdom suggested to Bolduc (p. 124) by her good friend Patty on the ``poopy morning'' when the toilet overflowed: ``I seem to remember that quite a few of your chapters begin with a groan before you get to the alleluia. The alleluia is here. You just haven't found it yet.'' Autism & Alleluias encourages us to keep on looking for that elusive alleluia.
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