I know a little boy.
He is not like the others.
He likes clapping and stomping his feet. At times during class, he would lie down and stare through the tiny gap between the door and the floor to see the world on the other side.
The first time I met him he wouldn’t hold my hand. I would try to lead him to a safer space and he would twist his hands free of mine. As if annoyed by its constraint.
We let him do his thing as we taught the other children. One of us always kept an eye on him though to make sure he was safe.
Then one week something happened.
I was colouring with him. Making green and blue squiggles on butchers paper. I drew a happy face. He didn’t notice, but kept making blue lines. The rest of the kids had just about finished listening to a bible story about how Jesus was destined to be a saviour.
A song began to play and they all stood up.
He looked up. This time when I took his hand and led him to the group he didn’t resist.
I was the one who let go first. I sang at the top of my lungs. I stomped my feet and made my actions really big. I even played the air guitar.
He gave a small smile. Then started stomping his feet with the rest of us. He followed our actions. He danced to the beat. He moved around as the guitars and drums kicked in.
Super saviour to the rescue!
Super saviour mighty to save!
Look! Look! here comes Jesus!
Up, up, and out of the grave!
The song blared as we grinned and danced away. He was following! We were all thrilled!
The boy we know was different the next week.
He took my hand more readily and didn’t move away as quickly. He copied us when we played dress ups and put a crown on his head.
And when the lesson was over, he waved goodbye.
“Say see you next Sunday!” said his father who came to pick him up.
“See you next Sunday!” he repeated, looking straight at us.
It was the first time I heard him speak. And my heart melted a little around the edges.
“See you next Sunday!” we waved back.