Once a week or so I’m given a reminder—a gift, really—of how much I can be a jerk.

I’m sure there are other opportunities for me to realize this, but I’m too self-absorbed to notice them.

A couple weeks ago, I headed to northern Cincinnati for a worship arts luncheon. On my way back I took the exit for the big Ikea, one of Cindy’s favorite stores—and also one of my least favorite. No, I didn’t stop by Ikea to pick up curtains or a rug. My destination was a restaurant nearby.

We love Aladdin’s Eatery in Toledo and terribly miss Mediterranean food. Just as it’s impossible to find good tortillas around here, so it is with tasty pita bread and hummus. So I stopped in to pick up some.

As I reached for the door, I noticed coming out a couple ladies and a boy around five. I held the door for them, since I can be a gentleman at times. As soon as the boy exited he proceeded to kick me in the shin for no apparent reason.

I was appalled. Aghast that my chivalrous deed would be returned so thanklessly, so violently.

Immediately the younger of the two women apologized, the one I assumed to be his mother. Nonetheless, my face apparently continued to register shock, and, in fact, likely regressed to disgust. She felt it necessary to explain.

“I’m really sorry, sir. He’s autistic.”

I was mortified. Perhaps more than she.

How tragic that this woman must enlighten complete strangers regarding her son’s condition.

At once I felt like Chris Farley in the SNL sketch: “How can I be so stupid. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid!”

Why did I delay in offering forgiveness for something I would discover was clearly out of her control?

I wish I could find her and tell her I’m sorry for how I behaved. How I wish she didn’t have to apologize for her son. That I wished he were well. That I pray for Christ to return and eradicate all disease. That until then I hope to be formed into his image. But I looked like nothing like Jesus in our brief encounter.

The hummus didn’t taste quite as good that day.

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