Normally on this blog I offer theological reflections on various topics or talk about some aspect of my writing or speaking ministry. Today, however, I’d like to introduce to you my precious 23-year-old son, Nathan (Nate).
Nathan lives with Shelley and me along with his two cats, Cuddles and Gina. He enjoys on-line video games, going to movies, working with clay and scaring the daylights out of people with surprise attacks. He loves being goofy, especially as a way of making his little nephew and niece laugh.
Nathan has faced his share of challenges in life. Years ago he was diagnosed with “high functioning autism” compounded with a learning disability. Nathan has always been aware that he is a little different, and this awareness has been the source of a good deal of pain. He yearned to fit in, but never quite knew how to do that. As you might expect, going through the Special Ed program throughout his school years was brutal for him. He continues to struggle with anxiety and depression, although he is making tremendous progress in this area.
It has only been in the last several years that Nathan has come to accept his disability. In fact, he is slowly learning how to embrace it as something that gives him a unique perspective on life. The main way Nathan expresses his uniqueness is through art, especially with clay. Nathan creates the most interesting “creatures.” Each piece expresses a little bit of the uniqueness Nathan is coming to affirm in himself. He once said, “Hey autistic and artistic sound the same!” He sometimes refers to his pieces as “autistic/artistic creations.”
Nathan has hundreds of clay creatures all around our house. Friends and family have purchased some of these pieces from him, which has been such an encouragement. Many times when his creatures are purchased Nathan will go into a funny little story of how he was inspired as he worked. Nate’s creatures make him laugh. Nate’s creatures and stories make all of us laugh.
One day a friend was buying a box of creatures and in Nate’s excitement he blurted out, “I bet there are more people that would be interested in my art!” That inspired our friends Julie, Terri and Marcia, along with Shelley, to work with Nathan in making his art available online. They assumed I would mention this endeavor for them. And, of course, I am honored to be the first to publicly announce my son’s artwork at Nate Creates. There you will find Nate’s creatures and a short story of each piece, imagined as a way of capturing the unique artistic – autistic character of the young man behind it. Nate will be adding to his artistic inventory on a regular basis.
Thank you for allowing me to introduce my son, the artist, to you.