Wednesday, June 16, 2010

John 12 -- escape from autism

Someone who is wrapped up in himself is tied up in a very small package. A hero of mine, Dr. Kurt Asperger, coined the term autism (self-ism) a year before the dude who usually gets the credit. Dr. Asperger kept many of his young patients out of Hitler's gas chambers by pointing out to the Nazis that autism is a spectrum disorder, associated with a wide range of abilities and disabilities. Kids with bizarre behavior problems might also have extraordinary intellectual and artistic gifts.[1]

Everybody has their own troubling weakness. A drunk achieves sobriety one day at a time, aware of the constant possibility of "hitting the skids," "falling off the wagon," and losing everything if he gives in to the ever-present temptation. A famous Protestant leader had a secret life, involving specialized massages from other men.

For someone wrestling with autistic-spectrum disorders, the ever-present temptation is the urge to pull the plug, disconnect from the people, the world, and the obligations around him, and hide out inside his own head. It's fun for a while, to suspend sanity and lose oneself in triviality. But the inside of your head is also a very scary place to get lost. Everyone has temptations. But a threshold can be crossed. When the temptation has you, it will "take you where you don't want to go. Keep you longer than you want to stay. Cost you more than you want to pay."

Archimedes said he could move the world if he had a long enough lever. What can offer the autistic Christian the "leverage" he needs to get out of his own head, and into the joys and challenges of real life? I think Jesus provides a key concept in this chapter:
Joh 12:24 "Size doğrusunu söyleyeyim, buğday tanesi toprağa düşüp ölmedikçe yalnız kalır. Ama ölürse çok ürün verir.
Joh 12:25 Canını seven onu yitirir. Ama bu dünyada canını gözden çıkaran onu sonsuz yaşam için koruyacaktır.
Unless a grain of wheat surrenders its own identity, it remains barren, alone. But if it "gives it up," this same grain can bear much fruit (çok ürün verir - much production it gives).

His life / the one who loves / it / loses. (Canını seven onu yitirir.) But the one who writes off his life in this world (sonsuz yaşam için koruyacaktır. ) endless / life / thereby / he will gain.

The only way to overcome a passion is with a greater passion. The only way someone excessively in love with himself can become and act human is by loving something more than himself. Ultimately, only the love of God, and the expectation of an amazing and eternal reward, can motivate the autistic Christian to deny himself, quit piddling with trivia, and get on with his life and assignments.


[1] For further reading on this topic, see Born On A Blue Day: Inside the Extraordinary Mind of an Autistic Savant by Daniel Tammet and Look Me In The Eye: My Life with Asperger's by John Elder Robison. If your autistic child is approaching college age, you must download the free, compassionate, and very helpful handbook Towards Success in Tertiary Study: Asperger’s Syndrome published by the University of Melbourne.

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