Big stuff

Well, I took my meds, so forgive me if I’m not so eloquent.  I have Med Brain going on.

Today was so good.  Mom took me to the zoo to watch the tiger cubs play.  They were born in October, so they’re quite big now but so very frisky and energetic!  They take kitty baths, and have kitty noses, and expose kitty bellies.  Big kitties!  Mom is Mom, so she didn’t hurry me up or even try to ruin it by talking to me while I watched them.  I watched them for fifteen or twenty minutes on the way in, then another few minutes on the way out.  As long as I wanted. 

But something’s been nagging at me… you see, one of the board members from my previous post said that one of many reasons she wants to cure her children’s autism is so that they can worship God freely. 

So I’ve been thinking six ways to Sunday (Or what’s that expression?  That’s not quite right, but you know what I mean) about how I worship God.

First, I thought about all the ways most people worship Him.

Well, I don’t usually sing in church (and when I do, well, I’m kind of a tenor, so it’s quiet to be sure!).

I can’t listen to sermons for more than a few minutes without some major internal combustion going on.

I like to pray, but I’m lucky if I get three or four words out before I forget what I was talking about or even forget that I’m praying altogether.

As for reading the Bible, well… confession… and don’t kill me… but it kind of bores me.  I like to hear the stories how they tell them to the kids.  Then I can pay attention.

So, my first conclusion is that I must not worship God, right?

You see, God made people in part so that we would worship Him.  I am human.  Therefore, I was created to worship.  We can delineate “NTs” and “Aspies” and “auties” and what have you, but frankly, when it comes to certain things, those terms are meaningless.  In fact, I’m not sure God even judges us with respect to neurological status, just like He doesn’t judge us by our races or the languages that we speak.  Just because you speak German and I speak English doesn’t mean that we don’t both worship.  Or because you’re Latina and I’m white, right?  So why does it matter that I’m “an autie” and you’re not?  God doesn’t see that.  God created us ALL to honor and glorify Him.

So then I got to thinking some more.

You mostly talk; I mostly write.  We both communicate.

You like to hug; I hate to be touched.  We both share love.

You like dogs.  I like cats.  We both love animals. (Or, maybe you don’t like them one bit, and that’s okay too!)

So, maybe… just maybe… you worship by singing and reading and praying and whatnot, and I worship by…

Wait.  Do I have your attention?  How does someone with autism worship?

I can only tell you how I do, is the answer.  I don’t know how “people with autism” worship, not least because I am not “people” but just “Lydia.”  So what follows, as with anything I tell you, can only be certifiably true with respect to me, and only me. 

I worship when I watch cats, because I totally revel in God’s amazing ability to create them.  Not just that He can, but that He did.  That he thought them up and brought them into being out of nothing at all.  That’s cool.

I worship when I take a walk and totally marvel at everything, from what staff dubbed “a disease” growing on a tree, to the tadpole that just got his legs, to giggling uncontrollably at the ducks. 

I worship in the light.  No, not the Light, though I worship in him too… but the actual light.  The way it comes through the stained glass windows in the sanctuary, the way my glasses make it spread out.  And the way I see a complete rainbow surround every light that I look at. 

I worship in the music, even though I don’t sing.  The harmonies, especially, just make everything right in my world. 

I worship in the people.  You would never, ever know it (you might not even think I notice, in fact), but I so feed off the joy in other people when they worship.  I feel like I could simply explode with joy… but I don’t think you’d notice a thing, not even a smile, because my face is probably too busy ticcing.

I worship when I type.  God created me to type.  It baffles me a bit, because as a very small child growing up in a non-Christian family, I questioned to myself whether it was possible that God creates people to do “unnatural” things, like driving (as opposed to horseback riding, which seems natural to me) or computers.  The answer is, from personal experience, unequivocally yes.  (As an aside, those are the sorts of things I wondered about as a preschooler…).

I worship in poetry.  Now, I can’t much understand other people’s poetry, but the rhythms and the rhymes that I can create entirely capture me. 

I worship in stimming… mostly, when I get really excited, I flap my hands and walk on my toes.  But then, things like swinging and spinning in chairs and swimming make me excited too.

I worship when I create, whether it’s words, stories, poems, necklaces, doll clothes… My Creator made the world and everything in it, and I am a reflection of Him; therefore, I too, love to create.

Oh, and here’s a big one, and then I’ll stop: I worship when I answer every single question that has ever been asked of me about ASD.  Unless something crazy happens and I somehow can’t keep up (which I don’t foresee!), I will continue to do that for as long as I possibly can.  Feed my sheep, right?

You sing.  I listen to the music.

You read the Bible; I experience the world.

You listen to sermons; I talk to parents.

You pray; I write.

We both worship. 

I do not worship with limitations.  I do not worship “unfreely.”  I am not held back because the music hurts my ears.  In fact, I certainly wonder how you worship at all when you walk by the ducks without glancing because you’re too hot; when you’re too busy talking to watch the tiger cubs; when you’re so busy singing that you don’t see, and may never see even when I point them out, the lights; when you have so many requests to make of God, so many things to discuss with him, that you forget how to just be with Him.  To listen. 

Me?  Not free? 

Think again.

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11 thoughts on “Big stuff

  1. This is FANTASTIC!!! So many things wrong with that mothers assessment of people with autism not being able to worship. What arrogance she shows! I can only pray that God would truly humble her so that she would be able to see things differently so she could connect w/her child. I don’t really have the energy to share all the ways I worship God. Oh wait, there’s one. When I’m aware of my limits and don’t feel the need to override them to please others, I am worshipping God. I’m able to pause and recognize that I’m limited and finite and God is infinite.

    p.s. I don’t see how I can do the RSS feed to subscribe. It’s only through email. Is there a way I can subscribe w/ RSS feed?

    • Eliana, well, I don’t know… I don’t really know what an RSS feed is, exactly, but I could mess around with the widgets later and see if I can get it on here. I think I can.

  2. Thank you for fleshing out your worship of God in this fashion.

    What a great question you had about whether God created people to do “unnatural” things.

    And those tigers! I can quite see how it was an amazing experience.

    Walking, light, music and people.

    And busy-ness is a distance and unfreedom.

    Again, my gratitude for showing how one person worships.

  3. See, here’s the thing, from a non-Christian point of view ( and I was raised as a Christain going to Ecumenical school) what I wonder is how a person with autism is able to understand the abstract notion of God. All the things you mention about singing/not singing etc are nothing whatsoever to do with God and everything to do with the mans perception of worship and the manmade concept of Church.

  4. Worship is the act of honoring God. Therefore, when you do what God wants you to do, you are worshipping him. By, for example, watching the cats and recognizing God as their Creator and marveling in how He thought of them and how awesome He was to make them… that is worshipping him. By being so purely myself, how God created me to be, that is worship. By acknowledging God’s love for me in enjoying the things He gave me on this earth, that is worship.

    Regarding my concept of God… give me time on that one, k? I don’t know, is the answering. I’m not sure how much of a concept of Him I have and how similar or different it is from most people’s.

  5. this is thought-provoking, lydia. i think it does come down to a definition of what true worship is. sometimes i wonder if we use that term too broadly. what does God say about worship in the Bible? (if you find it boring, pray for exctiement/understanding. you might be surprised). how about the psalms? David was one of the best worshippers.

    you, as the worshipper, are certainly not limited by autism and God can receive worship from anyone or anything. (I’m reminded of a verse in Luke 19 that says if the people keep silent (in praise), the stones will cry out). but i agree with you that it comes from a pure place – and no one should pass judgement about how/what/when/where another person worships. true worship is not about us anyway.

  6. I think it’s more important to be a good person than to join in recognised acts of worship. Lydia you have a great way of looking at it 🙂

  7. Lydia,
    I love this post… while I am a unitarian and an aspie… this captures most of my feelings completely… each of us prays and worships in a different way and there is no wrong or right way to worship. I have always believed that the being(s) that one worships are everywhere and in everything.. not in a church…or some symbol… or a guy asking for money on the TV… if you can’t stop and see the wonder then who should someone feel sorry for? The person who can’t stop and just watch a creature.. or thing to me can’t see the forest for the tree’s. As I was told once… the simplest explination on an aspie is someone who can spend 3 hours looking at something and not get bored… maybe this is the way we ultimately as an aspie worship… we see the patterns or pictures in everything and that is how we worship by seeing the beauty in things or beings?

    My best friend and I who both are aspies to one degree or another both fixate on trains.. we can go to the train museum in baltimore and spend hours just looking at the trains… and cars and such….

    I hope I made the point I am trying to make which is why change us.. why ‘cure’ us when this is who we are and how we are. And perhaps this is just another way we see the universe which makes us special in some ways..

    For the people who don’t look at the duck… or the cub… or the otter… I feel sorry for you…. your missing out on the beauty of life the universe and everything.. (42)

    Chris

  8. This is one of the most profound and beautiful things I’ve ever read! As a Christian, I know that God, The Creator, has created each of us uniquely and marvelously. You, my new friend, (and I do want to become friends), have spoken the truth – His Truth – beautifully! Thank you!

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