Who Are We as Individuals and What Does it Mean?
Yesterday - autism - was thrust in my face - when my bridge partner J and I sat down to play our first round in our first in person game together in 16 months or so.
An out-of-town visitor glaringly made his presence felt immediately! Our initial reactions were: "he's so rude and controling". As we listened and reacted to him it became clearly evident that he was - way out - on The Spectrum.
Everything was totally clear to him, literal, and dogmatically thrust at the other three of us at the table. He was obviously a loner, relatively intelligent, but distant.
Afterwards - J commented to me how she felt sorry for the young man. I responded noting that I was totally unclear as to how he felt about his life and himself. Presuming that his life was "sad" or "pitiful" was evaluating in a world that may totally not be how he sees things. To understand - where he "is at" - one would need to ask him how he views his life in various ways to get clarity.
I spoke also of my brother who has struggled with mental health issues most of his life. In my brother's world nearly everything is "God's Will". When visiting his household, after my aunt died, a young man told of how his father had been crippled by another man who mistook him for another.
I would have explained the situation of being "sad" because he had he misfortune of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The young man told me that clearly it was God's will that what happened, happened. He accepted it fully!
My brother had "great potential" as a young man. He has not "achieved" much in his life. Looking at him, one could easily say that it is sad that his life hasn't been easier. I see that Orthodox Judaism has given him structure and meaning. Absent my aunt reaching out and taking my brother in in the 1970's - he might well have ended up either dead or institutionalized.
My brother accepts his life and seems to appreciate what he has. I could never live in the "black/white" world with no "greys" - and wouldn't want to be in his shoes. For him, however, he is blessed and has a good life.
We have our own individual paths in life. When we feel that we are living meaningfully and that life is basically positive, we are "successful". Everything doesn't have to be "good" or "winning" or doing "better" than others.
For me, now, life is moving into my heart - my spirit- my soul. Feelings are very important! Experiencing both positive and negative feelings and growing from them is significant to me. Pain can be a challenge! It also is a growth opportunity for me. Making mistakes helps me learn from them - if I listen and hear in them. Human connection is important - especially given my past lack of connection.
Life - for me is good! I am challenged a lot - and I try to do better! I also relax and appreciate slow times.