Galen Pearl

Galen Pearl

Galen Pearl

I Just Like To Do Things My Own Way

My son James is autistic. For those familiar with the spectrum, he would probably fall somewhere at the very low end of high functioning. Several years ago, I had a conversation with him about his adult life. I was trying to ask in a sensitive, diplomatic way how he felt about not being able to do some things that he might see other adults doing. I was trying to understand if he saw himself as different, and if so, how he felt about it. 

James thought for a minute and then he shrugged. “I just like to do things my own way.” 

So true. He does. He has always marched to the beat of his own drum, and happily, at least when allowed to march unimpeded. 

When he was a boy, I once asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up. 

“A deer!” he said. Not the sort of career choice answer I was expecting.

“Hmm, I’m pretty sure you are going to be a man when you grow up,” I replied. 


Looking back, I can see so many times along the way when I tried to make James fit into a mold. I believed that being a good mother to James meant trying to help him overcome the difficulties that I saw facing him. It meant making him more like everyone else.  

Then one day, I was passing close enough to hear James talking to himself in the mirror. 

“It’s great to be James!” 


I regret now all the ways that I became the impediment to James’s happy life dance. 

As I look around I see that this is not an isolated example. How many ways do I do this to others? To myself? How many ways have I tried to mold myself into the person I thought I should be at the expense of person within longing to be free? 

We want others to agree with us, to act like we think they should act, to believe what we believe. We hold others and most of all ourselves to a standard ideal. And meanwhile, the natural universe of beauty and energy and wild variation longs to express itself through all of us and each of us. 

The universe just likes to do things its own way. And who are we to stand in its way?

The universe is saying: “Allow me to flow through you unrestricted, and you will see the greatest magic you have ever seen.” ~ Klaus Joehle

14 thoughts on “I Just Like To Do Things My Own Way”

  1. I read every one of your wonderful posts. I don't comment often, but I'm glad when it shows up in my mailbox. Today, I simply LOVED this post and it made me smile hugely when I thought about it later. Thank you. 🙂

  2. Hey, DJan. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment today. James's wisdom has given our family some great lines that we often use. One of my favorites is the one I wrote about today–I just like to do things my own way! It's a good reminder.

  3. "It's great to be James!"
    Would we all be able to say, "It's great to be me!" After all, isn't that what God wants?
    Blessings, Galen, and thank you for your prayers for my MIL as she heals and is staying with us.

  4. This morning in our large, somewhat formal church a beautiful little girl around 4 years old sat behind us. She was perhaps autistic. She made unusual noises and could not be still. At one point she broke away from her dad and started down the aisle laughing and seemed to be darimg her dad to come after her. I thought of you and your stories of James from your book. Her dad was so patient and I saw mostly smiles from those around us. She seemed happy enough to be her own beautiful little self.

  5. I love James thoughts; "I just like to do things my own way" and "It's great to be James". We have a special needs granddaughter who is 15 years old. She is Autistic and mostly blind. She is such a happy little soul and she loves to do her own thing. She's amazing in so many ways. She has brought a great deal of joy into our lives. We are amazed at the things she can learn and do. She will never be independant but she is happy. We know she is a gift from Heavenly Father and has a great purpose. We have learned many things though our experiences with her.
    It is true that Heavenly Father has a plan for us all and we need to trust in that plan and not stand in the way. It would be awesome if we could all see how it is great to be who we are and who we can become.
    I loved learning about James and can relate to his sweet spirit.
    Sending love and hugs your way!

  6. All I can say is, this is an awesome post. I'll make sure I put his name right next to your on the prayer list. Including mentioning being more like him in attitude.

  7. Lovely post, Galen. This human compulsive need to fit in is thrown into sharp relief when we look at the needs, wishes and personal passions of the individual. Loving you last line too!

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