When you have Asperger Syndrome (autism spectrum ‘disorder’), you can not only count on regularly being bullied and mocked, you also find that in church where you get a bit of a break from the bullying, you are invisible.
I went to Mass today, and no one talked to me. I waited around in the foyer to give people a proper chance, but still— invisible. Now, you might say I go to the wrong kind of church if I want people to talk to me and offer even ME Christian fellowship. But I don’t choose my church for social reasons but for correct doctrine.
And even when I went to more outgoing churches in the past (Lutheran, Baptist, Evangelical, LDS, and Christian Science) it wasn’t much different. Oh, people said words to me, but they were exclusively the polite nothings people say in church to people they don’t know and are not really trying to know. Sometimes folks would try to evangelize me because I was new, but after they were sure I was properly saved— invisible.
It hurts my heart to go to God’s House as one of God’s children and find that because of my Asperger Syndrome, the whole Christian fellowship thing is marked ‘not for me’. Sometimes I feel like standing up on a pew and screaming ‘I’m here! I’m human! I’m a child of God! Won’t anyone offer me a little love and kindness!’
Only of course I’d never do that and so no one knows that I go through the motions in church and I’m really dying inside because I’m alone and have no real-world friends and never have a conversation with a human being other than my mom and my therapist.
It’s not easy being a friend to a person with Asperger Syndrome. People talk to me and I guess I send off ‘don’t bother me, go away’ vibes when what I mean to send off is ‘I’m so desperate for the tiniest hint of friendship I will let you boss me around’ vibes. And even when people say things like ‘call me anytime’ I don’t do it because I don’t know when an ‘anytime’ will come along when I’m not bothering them.
I guess what I’m really dreaming of is that someone will come along and decide to be my friend whether I like it or not, and invite me to their house and not take the first 7 ‘no’ answers seriously and call me and talk to me even when I sound grumpy and not notice that I’m too poor to reciprocate their kindnesses to me. I know that will never happen, but that’s what I hope for because I know there are some good Christian people out there who do things like that, and many more who WOULD if only they knew how much some people around them needed it.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 Douay-Rheims Bible
It is better therefore that two should be together, than one: for they have the advantage of their society:
If one fall he shall be supported by the other: woe to him that is alone, for when he falleth, he hath none to lift him up.
Hebrews 13:5 DRB
…for He hath said: I will not leave thee, neither will I forsake thee.