There are many times that I believe that Joelle doesn’t understand me as well as she believes she does. She always tells me that she knows me inside and out, but when she’s put to the test as far as I go, the results seem to prove otherwise especially in one particular area: I don’t like to go to church alone. Even more so is that she doesn’t understand that throwing me out there alone makes me want to become a recluse, and not necessarily by choice.
Now, it’s not a question of God being with me. I know that God is always there and I always have that feeling. What I don’t seems to have at times is that feeling of belonging there by myself. I always feel uncomfortable sitting alone. I feel lost in the many sea of faces that are there. I feel like there is no one there to pray with me, and even more so, I feel like there is no one there to pray for me. And, being autistic, it’s not like I can easily just go up to someone and say hi all by myself. Or, to sit with them, or even pray with them on my own initiative is just not that easy for people like me.
In fact, you know might know me by my pattern when I do go by myself. I walk in and take a seat at the back. I often have my head down looking at the floor, or staring up into the ceiling while listening to the message (or I may switch from one to the other). When service is over, I’ll often wind up being the first one out to make it to the car and leave as soon as I can, feeling a little anxious. Mind you, I often don’t make it out that quickly because I often get stopped by a few people wanting to say “hi” and shake my hand. Of course, I stop and engage in a brief conversation and suddenly they’re done, and with me being autistic and not being able to recognize social cues, I don’t realize that the conversation is done and I feel cut off. Thus I find myself going to the car wondering what just happened. Then, all I want to do is go home and sink into my guitar, music, computers or actually do some yard work while blasting my iPod… and now I really don’t want to be seen with anyone. I become very reclusive, all because I didn’t really want to be alone in the first place.
Funny how it feels different when I have a guitar or a camera in my hand. I don’t feel so anxious then. I almost feel “normal”. Perhaps, it sort of gives me a deeper understanding of how Josh feels when he has a steering wheel in his hand. He feels so comfortable with it, even if I don’t feel so comfortable being beside him. I feel more at ease with my guitar. I used to feel right at home in the moment with God when I was on a worship team, playing guitar. These days, I haven’t been on a worship team for almost 6 months. Even more reason I feel so out of place when I walk into church alone. I wonder if Joelle understands that about me.