The Sweetest Sound -- By Joseph J. Mazzella

"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another." (3 John 13:34-35 NIV)

My youngest son doesn't speak much. His severe autism has always made language a struggle for him. Even though he is sixteen years old now his vocabulary remains very limited. His sentences are simple ones that only let us know his basic needs. Even these sometimes fail and he will need to grab our hands and show us what he wants. Still, his light-hearted laughter, delighted smile, and shining eyes can speak volumes at times. Often I only have to look at him to share in his joy. He may not be Shakespeare but his heart says so much. To me he will always be a gift from Heaven.

I can remember last Summer helping him to get his room ready for bed on a warm August evening. As it often can be with families dealing with autism it had been a long day full of ups and downs for us both. There had been both laughter and joy and frustration and tears. Now as the sun was finally setting his eyes started to droop as he changed into his pajamas. I smiled at my sleepy son and leaned forward to kiss his forehead. Gently taking his face in my hands I looked him in the eyes. "I love you son", I said. His eyes sparkled for a moment and a smile appeared on his face. Then I heard him say more clearly than he ever had before, "I love you." Those beautiful words sang in my ears and flew into my heart. It was the sweetest sound I had ever heard. At that moment I fully saw with my eyes, ears, and heart the wonderful, bright, shining soul that lives within my son.

May you always bless your life with the sweet sound of "I love you" as well. Fill your home with its beautiful music. Let it float to Heaven on your prayers to our Father. Share its glorious, healing words with the world. Use it to touch the lives and brighten the hearts of all those you love. It truly is the song of the angels and the very voice of God.

Joe Mazzella