In the soon to be released What is Your Life’s Work? : Answer the BIG Question About What Really Matters…and Reawaken the Passion for What You Do, author Bill Jensen recounts a defining moment in his life, when he :
Over ten years ago, a wake-up call completely changed my life’s work, and pulled me into this project. In July 1994, I came home one night just as the phone was ringing. It was my sister. Mom just had a massive stroke. We’d better get to the hospital — fast.
We got there just in time for the emergency room doctor to inform us that Mom wasn’t expected to make it through the night. None of us was prepared for this shock. Mom was the cornerstone of our family. Suddenly, we had to say goodbye….
For months, I scribbled down what I was going through and thinking about. Eventually, a new kind of clarity emerged for me. I found a new calling — what really mattered in my own work became crystal clear….
I can draw a direct line between what happened in the hospital that night, my diary about the experience, and how that changed what really mattered for me.
Parents and family members of autistic children can identify all too well with this. We all have that moment first of, “What?”. Then, “How? Why?” Then ultimately, “What can I do about it?” Which sometimes (usually) results in a re-thinking of their life’s work.
There are many examples of organizations and efforts started up by parents and other family members of autistic children as they embark on this new work. The first I recall using was the American Hyperlexia Association, started up and maintained (until very recently) by Ted and Julie Whaley. It was an invaluable resource as we tried to figure out what was going on and where things would lead. Thanks Ted and Julie.