I spent OFFUMC’s January Date Night with a younger gentleman. We laughed; we danced; he even kissed me on the cheek during the movie. But before rumors start to fly and I upset my happy home, let me explain.
You see, my Date Night was with Mason, the 8 year-old brother of one of our Parents’ Morning Out attendees. In addition to an autism diagnosis, Mason has an extremely rare genetic condition called duplication 15q syndrome that affects only 1 in 100,000 children. While Mason’s parents went out to dinner, he and his two brothers came to the church for games, crafts and a movie. Mason and I hung out all night. We made rounds through the church halls. We bounced balls in the gym. We ate snack off the counter in the kitchen. We borrowed musical books from the nursery. We sat on the steps when we got tired.
That night, I learned a lot about love, God’s love. As Mason and I were busy exploring, we didn’t go unnoticed to the 69 other children attending Date Night, and they had lots of innocent questions. How old is Mason? Why isn’t he playing with us? Why doesn’t he talk?
Their curiosities opened the door to talk about God, how He makes each one of us special and unique in our own ways, how He loves every one of us, and how we are all perfect in His eyes. Then, amazing things started to happen. The kids talked to Mason. They told him hi. They asked to sit next to him during snack. One little boy gave him a hug. The kids at our church had open and loving hearts, ready to welcome another one of God’s children.
Now, I don’t know what your date nights look like, but I think you’d be hard pressed to have a better one than I had. I’d encourage you to make a date with someone like Mason. You may just fall in love with God all over again.