Dancing with Max: A Mother and Son Who Broke Freeby Emily Colson, Charles W. Colson
Meet a remarkable young man. Max doesn’t communicate like we do. But he communicates better than we do about the most important things. Max doesn’t think like we do. But his actions reflect deep spiritual truths. With candor and wit, Emily Colson shares about her personal battles and heartbreak when, as a suddenly single mother, she discovers her only
Meet a remarkable young man. Max doesn’t communicate like we do. But he communicates better than we do about the most important things. Max doesn’t think like we do. But his actions reflect deep spiritual truths. With candor and wit, Emily Colson shares about her personal battles and heartbreak when, as a suddenly single mother, she discovers her only child has autism. Emily illuminates the page with imagery—making you laugh, making you cry, inspiring you to face your own challenges. Chuck Colson, in his most personal writing since Born Again, speaks as a father and grandfather. It is a tender side Max brings out of his grandfather, a side some haven’t seen. As Emily recalls her experiences, we discover that Max’s disability does not so much define who he is, but reveals who we are. Dancing with Max is not a fairy tale with a magical ending. It’s a real life story of grace and second chances and fresh starts in spite of life’s hardest problems. And Max? Max will make you fall in love with life all over again, leaving you dancing with joy.
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- Zondervan Publishing
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- Age Range:
- 18 Years
Read an Excerpt
Dancing with MaxA Mother and Son Who Broke Free
By Emily Colson
ZondervanCopyright © 2010 Emily Colson and Charles W. Colson
All right reserved.
Chapter OneCAR WASH
Okay, maybe I was a little rebellious - but whenever my dad reminds me of that, I usually look him straight in the eye and say, "I think I turned out remarkably normal ... all things considered."
I didn't exactly have your normal life experiences, although who has? At seventeen, I was shy, guarded actually, with the self-confidence of a gnat. Which is why on this particular day, with the lamination barely cool on my driver's license, my mom volunteered to lead me through my very first car wash. All my young rebellious nature would be required to do was to follow.
I watched as my mom's 1970s hatchback disappeared into the black hole of foaming spray. I gulped nervously as a burly attendant waved his arm, expecting me to drive my eight-inch-wide wheels into four-inch metal tracks. Did he understand that I couldn't see my wheels? As I pulled forward it sounded as if my tires were screaming at me, the rubber screeching against metal. The attendant signaled me to stop.
I cranked down the window of my boxy old Plymouth Valiant. "Regular wash, please," I said, trying to act cool.
"Hands off the wheel. Foot off the brake. Keep it in neutral," he ordered, pocketing my money.
That's it? I thought. Just sit here?
My car jerked forward, and a frothy wave of water slapped against the windshield. As I was swallowed into the dark hole, I could see huge blue towels lapping tongue-like across my hood. It was such a Jonah-in-the-whale experience that even my feet felt wet. And then I looked down.
Apparently, the tattooed attendant had neglected to inform me that I should close the vents on my car, that ingenious 1970s pre-airconditioning cooling system of little doors beside your ankles. The fact that these vents also blew leaves and road debris into your car tells you how closely this technology mimicked that of the Flintstones'.
There at my feet, gushing through these open vents with hydrant force, was enough water to fill an ocean.
I jammed my foot up against one of the vents but couldn't close it. The water pressure was too great. I pictured myself reaching the exit of the car wash with the interior of my car completely filled with water, like a rolling aquarium. And there I'd be, treading water with my lips stuck to the inside of the roof, sucking out the last bit of oxygen.
With survival at stake, there was only one thing to do: I put my hand on the wheel, threw it in reverse, and hit the gas. With an enormous crack the steel bar that held my car in place snapped. I flew backward, out of the entrance of the car wash, as though I'd been shot out of a whale's blowhole. Oddly enough, the attendant was not as relieved as I was to see me back where I'd started, safely on dry ground.
"Whaddaya doin'?" he screamed in his Boston accent, as he held the sides of his head. "Ya broke my cahwash."
I thought it best not to ask for my money back and did the only logical thing a seventeen-year-old could think of - I drove away as fast as possible.
When I pulled around the corner, my mom was waiting. She rolled down her window and watched as I opened my car door, releasing a splat of sudsy water against the pavement. I waved my hand, motioning for her to drive away, and yelled, "I'd rather wash it myself."
That was many years ago, and I haven't backed out of a car wash since. But I have felt exactly the same way: the challenges ahead looking just as threatening, just as ominous. Pressure is rising and I can see the end. I'm sure I'll run out of oxygen, that I can't possibly survive.
But I have survived.
Excerpted from Dancing with Max by Emily Colson Copyright © 2010 by Emily Colson and Charles W. Colson . Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Meet the Author
Emily Colson is the daughter of Chuck Colson. She is an artist and writer. After many years as an art and creative director in the field of advertising and design, she now pours her creative gifts into helping her son, Max, who is diagnosed with autism. She has even pioneered an innovative communication system to assist her son. Emily has been a single mother for most of Max’s 19 years, with hard-fought lessons of life, love, and laughter. Emily and Max live on the coast of New England, where they can often be found dancing. You can visit her at www.emilycolson.com.
Chuck Colson was a popular and widely known author, speaker, and radio commentator. A former presidential aide to Richard Nixon and founder of the international ministry Prison Fellowship, he wrote several books that have shaped Christian thinking on a variety of subjects, including Born Again, Loving God, How Now Shall We Live?, The Good Life, and The Faith. His radio broadcast, BreakPoint, at one point aired to two million listeners. Chuck Colson donated all of his royalties, awards, and speaking fees to Prison Fellowship Ministries.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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Read this book if you live with Autism every day. You MUST read this book if you don't live with Autism. Get a glimpse of what life is like for us, but better yet what love is. You will laugh. You will cry. You will love this book.
I like the book very much just cant wait for a continuation of the it. Its not just a story for autism itself but on how to face life struggles with faith, belief, hope and trust. Hoping to meet Emily & Max someday. Thanks Emily, Max & Charles!
As a mother of a child with special needs, I found this book to be a source of comfort. Though our circumstances are not the same, there are similarities. The author's honesty, the grace with which she handles herself in some very difficult situations, and (above all) her unconditional love for her son are a true source of inspiration. I read this at a particularly trying time and it helped me to regain my perspective and become more centered. It was just the little boost I needed. I hope she shares more of her experiences in the future.