Thursday, July 30, 2009

On Receiving My Healing

On Receiving My Healing

I gave my life to Jesus Christ after encountering Him personally, and have spent roughly the last two-thirds of my life as a believer. Not long ago, I spoke with a dear sister in Christ- a woman who dearly loves speaking the truth about everything, and speaking deep love at the same time, and calls me whenever she needs to talk to someone who is not a phony. Though she is not on the spectrum and I am, we can still appreciate each other a great deal, and I find her love of truth extremely refreshing.

In this call, she told me that she had heard recently on the television that someone had a message from the Lord that God was healing someone from Asperger’s (my formal diagnosis) right now, and that she had laid hands on the TV and prayed that I could receive it. I had to grin, because I also believe in healing, but as we both know, you can only get healed of something if it is wrong in the first place. I explained to her that I do receive all the healing that God wants me to have- but that I have to wait on His timing and His will and His order of things, or I will lose my personality completely, and in fact, be hurt and not healed at all. She could relate to what I said, but still seemed to think that I was not receiving. We both know my favorite scripture regarding being on the spectrum: From Psalms 139:13, I am fearfully and wonderfully made, and my soul knows it very well. On the other hand, I desire to forgive everyone in my life, on or off the spectrum, who has hurt me, whether through misunderstanding or intentionally, and to forgive myself for the errors I have made in hurting others, again, intentionally or not. I certainly view this as part of healing, and I plan to receive it all. I can find the places in the Bible where it says that this is the will of God. In view of that, I need to be able to discern how typical people feel in certain situations, and to be able to discern how I feel, and to develop the self-control (related to executive function) that will enable me to handle my feelings, and to respect the feelings of others, and to interact in a way I want, rather than in a way my feelings make me interact before I even know how I feel. (See Galatians 5:22 ) Of course, these are scriptures which a typical believer can be expected to read and take seriously. In my case, when I had prayed about this back in the winter of 2006-2007, I had begun to realize that I have more difficulty with this (emotional detection and control and more) than typical people have in a number of ways- and I began to accept this about myself, even though I did not want to think of myself as being disabled in any capacity if I could help it. I began to understand that I am indeed different in this way. Back then, I melted down much more easily than a typical person would about certain things, and kept my cool about things that would scare a typical person very badly- and I am still like that today, though I have gained a great deal of control compared to where I was, by learning to pray for help when I feel I need it, and learning to ask better questions to make things less overwhelming for me.

In July of 2007, I self-diagnosed, at the time finding Asperger’s to be a very accurate description of me in many ways- down to sensory issues I had told nobody about for years. In the process, I discovered that for me, it confers a number of decided advantages along with the disadvantages, so that being “healed” of it might actually leave me quite a bit worse off than I am at present, as well as incredibly disoriented. In particular, my IQ is in the top one percent, my long-term memory goes back to before I was born, I have perfect pitch and color-sound synesthesia that coordinates with it, my synesthesia coordinates color with many if not all of my senses other than sight in a way that aids my long-term memory, I have mathematical intelligence, I remember names as well as a typical person recalls faces, I can ignore my feelings in crisis situations so that I can apply logic more clearly and more rapidly, I have a hyper-focus that enables me to concentrate on something intensely even in heavy background noise for long periods of time, and more. Would I trade all that in for being typical? I certainly would not quickly agree to it. On the other hand- and I learned humility in a deep way from accepting all of this- I am face blind (prosopagnosic), have had to learn to read facial emotion as an adult by using Simon Baron-Cohen’s software (and I am still learning- it has helped amazingly!- but I still have great difficulty in knowing when someone is trying to manipulate someone else, or play a trick, or reacting to a social situation I have not discerned at all, for example), have visual memory that is quite poor (I say the name of a landmark if I want to remember it!), do not have words to match the levels of even many of my common feelings (but I am learning them quickly, now that I am studying!), have interesting sensory issues, have trouble in following the social content of two simultaneous conversations at once, have to work hard to see the “big picture” in social situations (this requires a hyper-focus on my part often enough, if I am unfamiliar with the situation , even when a friend is really trying hard to explain it), and although I have nearly complete memory of events back to childhood- I lack the understanding of why the typical people in my life did the things they did, for good or for bad- in many instances. Again, I am learning. I also lack the big picture that goes with many of these events, though I have learned the meaning behind many of them with help from typical people.

The conversation soon changed to something else entirely, but came back to healing- we both love that topic in many forms, so my dear friend and I come back to it easily and often. If she had perseverations I would say it was one of hers; it is surely one of mine.
My friend mentioned the man born blind, whom Jesus laid hands on to heal, and then asked him what he saw. The man said he saw people as trees walking. I replied that this is me- I am receiving a gradual healing- I see people’s emotions like I might see people as trees walking if I make my eyes blurry. Now, she understood. I am becoming a whole person. To me, that does not mean becoming typical. I am developmentally delayed, but not unable to grow. My current perseveration is learning to understand how typical people process things- everything from emotions to facts- including asking how it feels to them, and pausing to try to imagine feeling that same thing when they share it with me-- and to be able to communicate with them- and understand the reply- on different levels, including the kinds of incongruity between facts and feelings that enable them to be direct with one another in conveying displeasure and gentle rebuke without being too blunt or backing one another into a corner. At the same time, in all my memories there are none of having ever been typical, so I have learned that in experiential matters I will have to ask for more detail about what someone means, and share the experiences of others to gain the understanding I need to interrelate when shared experience is the method of social interaction that is in use in a conversation- and there really is no “healing” that will give that to me for free. My friends are happy to share- I think they are glad I want to feel what they felt. Sometimes, they ask me things about what I feel in certain situations, or what my experiences were- and it is fun for me to share as well- it is cross-cultural communication.

There is a word about each person as having a place that we are meant to fill (please see 1 Corinthians 12, 13, 14 and 15). I feel that I am being created and fashioned according to this, prepared for where I shall go (not to negate free will within this framework), and that to be healed, I need to wait on Him completely. I think that healing is for everyone, autistic or not, and that part of that is in learning not to be afraid of who people are-in my case, that involves accepting typical people as they are, and learning that they can accept me as well., and learning to accept that I am not perfect, need help with certain things, and that this is OK. I am only formally confirmed this last March.

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