One of the common autism traits I both possess and enjoy immensely is “unsociable” hobbies. It’s not that I don’t like people; I just don’t like to be around them much. I can’t recall ever liking to play games unless I could compete with one person – myself.
My favorite one is going on a date with my tennis ball and racket at a nearby college campus. The campus has the tennis cages where there is a practice wall. I confess it is a big treat if all the cages are empty or at least all the ones on one side of the wall. I’ll usually play less time if there are others around, especially if accompanied by blasting I-pods. This may sound like a boring way to play since the wall always wins every match, but I’m not out there to win. Just play that’s all.
I don’t remember all the tips my tennis coach gave me in high school but I imagine “keeping my eye on the ball” was one of them I know if my eye is on the ball, I improve the odds of the matches against the wall being longer. In other words, I’ll spend more time hitting the ball and less time fetching it.
It occurred to me this is true in my daily walk with my Lord and Savior. Just as I need to keep my eye on the ball, I need to keep my eye on Jesus. This is easier said than done because there is the constant temptation to take my eyes off of Him and look at whatever is on my plate. Sometimes what is on my plate has the visual appearance of a dark night without a star in the sky.
If my focus is on the darkness, I will drown in that darkness. The depths of despair will overwhelm me. Such as when I’m having a meltdown. A meltdown is common to those of us on the Autism Spectrum. There is no more such thing as a “good” meltdown as there is a good tornado. When one comes, if my focus is on the overwhelming tension rising in my body, it just aggravates it.
A meltdown is tough but I don’t have the words to say how much it helps to feel the Lord’s presence. I can’t explain it better than that. His Spirit is comforting me as if He is literally holding my hand. He directs me during the meltdown such as where I could go or what I could do to help until the storm passes. The reassuring voice tells me to hold on; it will pass. If I keep my eye, or focus, on Him, I will not drown in the pit of self-pity and despair.
If I keep my eye on the tennis ball, I have longer matches and more fun playing against a wall. If I keep my eye on Jesus, life is far more enjoyable and calmer than it would otherwise be.