Joseph was a real stinker these last few days. Whiny and selfish and resistant. Screaming and hitting things in anger. A real pain in the butt.

In Eckhart Tolle’s viewpoint, I responded by letting Joseph’s pain body trigger my own. I got into a terrible funk. No matter how enlightened I tried to be about it, no matter how I wanted to shift, I seemed to be stuck in my own bad mood.

Lately I’ve acquired the lovely habit of asking for, and receiving, help from beings unseen. During this funk I forgot all about that. I was in it alone.

Or so I thought. I may have forgotten my angels, but my angels apparently hadn’t forgotten me. Since I wasn’t asking for their help, they seem to have decided to work through someone with skin on.

Joseph’s school is a mixture of income levels, races, and blue and white collar workers. I hadn’t found any other spiritually-inclined people until a couple of months ago, when I connected with the mother of a 6th grader, a chiropractor who knew all my favorite books and grokked me completely. We haven’t gotten to know each other too well yet, but this morning she ran over  to tell me about a children’s book she’d been listening to on her way to school.

It’s about a mouse, she said, who was reading a fairy tale that ended with happily ever after. But in the mouse’s life, it wasn’t going to end happily ever after.

What to do, in that case? the story asked. The answer: Live bravely.

Live bravely.

With that, Kaya gave me a hug and ran back to her car.

Thanks, beings unseen.

I know that none of us are guaranteed a happily ever after in earthly life, but with autism the odds are a lot lower than average. What to do, in this case?

Live bravely. And I would add to that, love bravely. Love even if autism seems to block our children from loving us back. Step into the tough times with courage, because they’re what’s been given. And because courage feels a lot better than anger and upset and big funks.

Of course I had to google the book Kaya was talking about. It was Kate DiCamillo, The Tale of Despereaux.  Here’s another quote from that book:

Everything, as you well know . . . cannot always be sweetness and light.

The Masters have given us renditions of this sentiment many times. You should never expect a smooth, problem-free life, says Swami Satchidananda. A smooth life is not a victorious one, says Yogananda. The Bible says, Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.

Happily ever after is some far-off, ambiguous thing. All we have is right here and right now. I am focusing on living bravely in this moment, no matter if war, death, destruction, or a kid in a really foul temper dance around me. And I know — that is, know — that  you and I are constantly being encouraged by beings both seen and unseen.

Ever think about that word encourage? In-courage.

Let’s do it, shall we? Let’s live bravely. Encouraged and courageous, asking for and receiving help, never expecting life to be trouble-free. Willingly stepping into the fray when we know we can do some good there.

Living bravely may not be living happily ever after, but it must at least point the way there.