Misfit?

Ever since I was a kid I had this sense that I wasn’t quite like other people that I knew. The things that drove me weren’t like the things that seemed to drive others, the things that were important to the world weren’t always in line with what I held as valuable. For entirely too long this distinction made me feel less than human, it made me deeply regret who I was and it made me hate what I saw in the mirror.

I believe that a lot of this comes from the fact that I am autistic, and like it or not autism has shaped who I am and how I view the world.

The other day I was watching Mercury Rising which is a fun romp of a movie if you’ve never seen it. That’s not the only reason I like it though, I like it because it has a kid that reminds me a lot of myself. It has a kid who has autism as the focal point of the picture. At one point the Bruce Willis character asks if autism means that “nothing gets in” to which a nurse corrects that in fact “EVERYTHING gets in” and that we(those of us who are autistic) have issues processing all of it.

I would say that Autism is really issues in two key areas, processing and expression. How we process the stimuli that comes in and how we react and express ourselves in reaction to that stimuli. I can remember during my first marriage that in the home we were staying in someone would be listening to an internet radio station at the very same time that someone else was watching a TV that was too loud. All while the two of them were having a conversation and even attempting to have a conversation with me. You can imagine that this would be overwhelming to anyone but to someone like me who has issues processing and expressing myself it was a living hell.

I remember when I had my job at McDonald’s when I was 18. I rarely was put back into the kitchen area for good reason, there were too many tasks for me to do at once. I was never very fast but if you had me doing too many things at once I was useless. I remember trying to accomplish so much during that job and getting so overwhelmed by it all I wanted to do was escape and go outside so I could cry. Being on Fry duty was the absolute worse because I couldn’t keep enough boxes of fries ready to go during a rush.

For these and many other reasons I have always felt like a misfit, someone who doesn’t fit, a square peg, an anomaly. You know when they say that 9 out of 10 people usually do this? Guess who the 10th guy is. I’m the exception, the cast out, the ostracized… you get the picture.

If I have always felt like that in life it’s only natural that that feeling would play out in my faith as well.

3 years ago I became a Christian again. It was a strange thing to happen, I’d never thought I’d ever have faith again even though part of me always wanted it. I found myself trying to figure out just what it was that I believed, how much of cultural Christianity was I going to adopt as mine and how much was I going to dump? Who was it that I was following? I was sure about Jesus but there were other things that I wasn’t so sure about it. Much of what I would consider my faith was in flux, I was wrestling with a lot of ideas and thoughts and beliefs. The only thing I knew was that I wasn’t sure about a lot of stuff so I started searching. Some of what I found and latched onto was in the vein of more liberal progressive Christianity. Idea’s about uncertainty especially with the nature of The Bible and where it came from. I said some things that I regret and I came off as arrogant and hurt some folks along the way but I was searching.

As I drew nearer to Christ I could see some of my worldview shifting. Teachers like Brian Mclaren and even Rob Bell whom I still have great respect for weren’t feeding me like I thought they did in the past. I started to search for deeper and richer idea’s and studied scripture a lot more exclusively. Still though I had a hard time with the hard line of fundamentalism, the ultra right wing sect of Christianity which has hijacked the faith that I love so dearly and turned it into a political war cry around an “us vs them” mentality that I just couldn’t get on board with. So instead of aligning myself with either a progressive slant of Christianity which can’t get Jesus or his resurrection right  or with a right wing fundamentalist mentality who refuses to see that the world they are warring against is the exact same world that Jesus came to redeem I’ve continued to just be on my own. Partnering with whom I can when I can but realizing that no single worldview will have it all correct, not even(and especially not) mine.

The one thing that has remained is that I have no desire to get it all right, I already know that;s impossible. My biggest aim is to know God, to love him and to be loved and enjoyed by him. I find that most of my study as of late whether in the bible itself or by other authors is chasing after that aim. My questions have less to do about what can Christianity do for me, can it solve my issues, can it take away my pain, can it bring me joy? My questions are more about what Christ can do THROUGH me. Perhaps that is why I feel such a strong call into the pastorate, if he would have me. I have a broken heart for hurting people and I wan t for them the same thing that I have discovered. The furious and absolute love of God through Christ. If that makes me a Misfit than I will wear that badge with honor.

 

 

Moving On

6 years ago I was living in an apartment with Corrie who was at the time my fiance. It was around this time of the year that my folks came up with the idea of us moving in with them for a while. There were positive and negatives on either side of this arrangement but in the end we decided to take our folks up on the offer, mostly because I knew they were having financial issues and by our paying rent we could help them out. I didn’t expect that we would still be living there 6 years later but losing jobs and other financial will cause that. It has been tough on us and my parents both but there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel.

I have talked about us moving out for awhile now but I haven’t really made any steps towards making that happen yet, until last Saturday. Corrie and I decided that we would head out and start looking at places that might work for us. We started with apartment buildings but I don’t think either one of us really want to live in an apartment complex, I’ve heard too many horror stories about that so than we started looking at duplexes.

Long story short we found the perfect place, it’s in the central part of town which is where we want to live, it’s only $600 in rent which I think we can pay, it has 2 bedrooms so the other big dream of becoming foster parents could happen there too. It’s crazy how close we are to this, when we went out to look we were mostly just trying to get an idea of what was in the area and planning to hopefully move by the first of next year but now it looks like we might be able to get a place even sooner than that.

I’d be lying to you if I wasn’t nervous about this, in a lot of ways this will be taking a big risk for both Corrie and I. What if we aren’t that great at keeping a budget? What if one of us loses a job and we can’t get a new one fast enough? There is TONS of risk involved here. But whenever you feel called into something in life there will always be risk involved. Last night at church we started a series in Luke and we had a sermon about Mary, the mother of Jesus, and the risk she had to take of believing that God was going to give her a baby even though she was still a virgin. It was an amazing happenstance to hear this sermon about hearing a call from God and how do we react to it?

How did Mary react? Well she first reacted by stating the obvious.

“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

You can imagine the dismay in her response. “I’ve never had sex before in my life, there is no way that I can become pregnant it’s not scientifically possible.” But The angel just spells it out for her

“The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.

Then Mary does something that I wish we could all learn to do, she trusts.

 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.”

Perhaps it’s strange to see the parallels between the story of Jesus birth and Corrie and I being called to move out on our own but it makes tons of sense. The larger picture of what Corrie and I are being called into also involves children. The deepest longing that we have is to be able to raise kids, in order to be foster parents we’ll need our own place so this initial risk  is really the beginning of a journey for us. It;s exciting to see what God is doing, and like Mary my response is trust. I am the lords servant and his word will be fulfilled with us.

When was the last time you were invited to really risk in your life? How did things turn out?