It’s a bumpy ride living on the autism spectrum. Although I only recently learned I was on the spectrum, I have been living on it my whole life. It is sort of like living on a street one’s whole life without knowing the name of the street.
What’s it like living on the spectrum? I can only speak for myself and this is what I know.
Anxiety and fear don’t ring the doorbell; they let themselves in. Meltdowns arrive with little or no warning. What’s a meltdown like? It may have the same exact look of a tantrum but it is a different breed. Now there isn’t a one-size-meltdown-that-fits-us-all who reside on the spectrum. Mine typically felt like a raging storm that came from out of nowhere. The turbulent water and heavy winds are waging in my innermost being. I have no more control of it than I would a storm outside. The only thing I can do is sit, rock, and pray as I wait for it to pass. It may take 5 minutes or so, but it will pass.
Whether you live on or off the spectrum, you know about stormy weather. A storm may be a little mist, or a rainshower, thunderstorm, or it may feel like you’ve been hit with a tsunami. God’s children have the option of taking these storms, small or big, by faith. I wish it was as simple as clicking on the “FAITH” button on a computer but it doesn’t work that way. It’s a lot easier to read, write, and talk about faith than it is to practice it. My motto should not be: I’ll believe it when I see it. Not when it comes to my relationship with the Lord. Truth is, though, sometimes it is.
Matthew chaper 8 tells of a time when the disciples eyes were on the storm even though they has Jesus right in their midst.
23 And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him.
24 And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep.
25 And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish.
26 And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.
27 But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!
When the storm camp up seemingly out of nowhere, Jesus was taking a nap but the disciples were wide-awake! I gather from the scripture they were terrified as I would certainly have been in their shoes. I think they believed they were going to drown and that the situation was hopeless.
Now they did awaken Jesus and asked him to save them, but I gather they didn’t ask with much faith he could do something. I say that because Jesus asked them why they were so fearful. Where was their faith? Did they really think he was going to let them all drown?
This wasn’t the first miracle that Jesus performed. The disciples had witnessed Jesus do things that no ordinary man could do. They saw Jesus first hand give sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, cleanse the leper, cause the lame to walk, and even bring someone back from the dear. But they were clueless that he could control the weather. They could hardly believe what their eyes were telling them when Jesus told the storm to go away and like an obedient child, IT DID!
I don’t dare look down on the disciples for their fear and lack of faith. I’ve done the same thing more times than I know. Any time I’ve gone to the Lord in prayer for help with whatever and within seconds of saying “Amen”, I am worrying about the whatever. That’s a sure sign I haven’t turned it over to Him. I need to ask myself, “What storm has the Lord not seen me through?” None come to mind.
Faith isn’t about the storm’s ending being what we hoped. It may turn out the way I hoped, or something far better than I expected, or the result may be less than I hoped. Maybe even my worst fear.
Faith is about it being okay no matter what the end of the storm looks like. Ultimately, all God’s children have a happy ending from this earth. Our “real home” is a place many times better than any amusement park on Earth. So even if a storm ending is bitter, the Lord is still on board.
Every day, good or bad or just so-so, meltdown or not, is one day closer to going to my real Home when my living on the spectrum will cease.