I got a homemade gift the other day. It’s absolutely incredible in so many ways. The gift itself is beautiful, the person who made it even more so. There are many layers of meaning within the gift; I’m still processing it days later.
I want to share one meaning because it shows the power of acceptance.
The gift is a stunning stained glass picture of an elegant flower sitting atop a strong stem with various swirling leaves.
It is important to note that, as the colors were chosen with care, there were colors not chosen with just as much, if not more, deliberate care as a way of showing her acceptance of me.
The frame of the picture is a vibrant, brilliant, purple. A stunning red flower stands out bright and elegant. That strong stem and those swirling leaves were left colorless – on purpose.
My gift has no green where green usually goes. The colorless parts of this gift speak volumes to me. I can’t look at them or think about them without being moved to tears. There are lots of good emotions in those tears. I can’t name them all, but I feel all the feels.
I received acceptance of my aversion to green like I’ve never experienced before. You see, green is not just a color to me, green stands for every hurtful, broken, unkind, abusive, rejective, and simply horrible thing that has ever happened to me in my life as an autistic person.
Any person looking at that stained glass picture might think there had been a mistake. They might think there’s something missing and pass it over as unfinished and lacking. They might think it’s not good enough and reject it. Just like people have done to me my whole life.
My thoughtful friend put clear, fresh, uncolored glass in my gift, which stands as a powerful symbol to me of starting over with new experiences and leaving the ‘green’ of my life behind. The achromatic stem and leaves are visual representations to me that letting go of the ‘green’ to choose a brand new ‘color’ will be a beautiful thing. Her acceptance and support will help me find that new color.
My friend, as she willingly took the chance of being judged unfairly in coloring the stem and leaves ‘wrong’ (possibly enduring some “greenness” herself) has visually and tangibly shown her acceptance of who I am – it’s a gift within a gift.
About Lisa Morgan
After working as a software engineer for a few years in the mid-eighties, Lisa stayed home after her first child was born for the next thirteen years homeschooling her kids. Now, four kids later and a master’s degree in the Art of Teaching, she has taught in different school settings for 15 more years. After experiencing the loss of her husband of 29 years to suicide, Lisa authored, Living Through Suicide Loss with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Now, Lisa, an autistic adult diagnosed late in life, has become an advocate for other autistic adults who have had similar experiences. She has started a conversation with several nonprofit organizations in the US to help enhance the suicide prevention and postvention resources to be a better fit for autistic adults, as well as, to spread awareness of the resources available to the autism community.