*Note: I've fixed the formatting of this post 5 times, and it won't cooperate. I apologize for the obnoxiousness of the readability, but it's the best I can do.
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.
Because He lives, all fear is gone.
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living just because He lives.
There was a Good Friday service at church Friday night, and I was determined to go. I knew my mom wouldn't go after a long week at work, but I was hoping that my mentor would be there or the mother of a girl who has "autistic-like symptoms" that we know would go. Turns out, no such luck. If I was going to go to church, I was going to have to go myself.
I have a really hard time with large groups of people. Even at church, people moving around before the service and then the singing can be overwhelming. I like to sit in the back where I can't anyone behind me. I feel safer, and my ears are calmer. Church should be quiet and enjoyable, but for me, it's anxiety-causing. I go because I believe that, as a Christian, I should worship my God... but to be completely honest, I've never really enjoyed church. I do better with a fidget toy and a safe person, but even with those in place I'm usually pretty uncomfortable.
So on Friday, because we were remembering Jesus' death, I felt the need to attend the service, anxious and alone or not. I went and found my spot in the back corner, but soon a guy came around with ropes to mark off the back ten or so rows. I had to move up. I was upset because those rows weren't used for anything, they were just pushing the people up toward the front. I moved up behind an older lady and resumed texting Leigh.
I kept telling Leigh that I didn't want anyone to talk to me. I was anxious, and I didn't want to have to talk. At all. To anyone. Get the point?
Sure enough, halfway through the (almost 2-hour-long) service, the older lady in front of me turned around and said, "I love your pin." I said, "Thanks. It's for Autism Awareness Day." She said, "I'm a retired nurse. I'm familiar with autism." I told her that I had autism, and that I'd love if she'd take my pin. She did and put it on and thanked me.
Throughout the service, Ruby would turn around and talk to me. I was surprised that it actually made me more comfortable to talk to someone. That was a new experience.
Even so, I was terribly nervous, and throughout the service I continued to text Leigh on and off. Things got a little easier when she sent me a picture of a black-and-white cat. I figured I had two options: stay and text and look rude, or leave the service. I opted to try to stay and text. By the time communion was over, I didn't want to stay for them to finish the (really long) song they were singing, but I thought that I'd gotten that far and might as well stay.
I'm thinking of slowly getting Elsie ready to go to church with me, so that I can sit through the service without panicking. In two Fridays, Elsie and I are going to go to the church for her to meet my mentor, and maybe I'll take her in and see what she does. Even if she sat on the floor by my feet, I would be so much more relaxed. I'm not sure what the pastor would say about that. I could e-mail him and ask.
Easter itself has been very relaxing. I helped my mom bake ten dozen cookies for my sister's wedding, then I headed out to the pet food store to get Elsie some dry duck and grain-free food to use as treats for training (she likes it!). I took a nap in the house, with all the windows open, which felt incredible. Oh, and I ate a Cadbury Creme Egg and several Hershey kisses! Mmm!
So, Happy Easter to all.
He is risen-- He is risen indeed!