Between this column, my blog, and my series of children’s books, I have been able to produce a steady stream of written material. In addition, I have taken advantage of other opportunities to showcase my writing when the chance has arisen. One such chance came to me recently when a previous religious education teacher offered me an opportunity to contribute a column on my church’s website. I accepted the offer and set to work on my submission, and, in the process of writing, found out a few things about myself.
As I sat down to write my first column for the site, I realized how very personal the subject matter of my religion was to me. Now I had to express my feelings regarding aspects of my religion to others in a way that they would understand my feelings and standpoint. I found that this was an unexpected challenge and it added a new dimension to my writing. I had to come from a different angle than I usually take to express myself and, the writing process for this column was much more strenuous to work out than my other writing projects have been. I had to do a lot of soul-searching on this one because it involved a part of my identity that I have always just accepted at face value. I am glad that I did, though, because I have written two columns for the website so far, and I am very happy with the results.
I greatly appreciate having religion in my life. As with many people who have autism, I, too, crave a very structured schedule, but I have not always been able to have it. There has been, however, one very constant fixture that I knew I could hang onto. This fixture was the religious service that my family and I participate in every week. It has satisfied my desire for uniformity because it always follows the same order of events. Certain parts might have some changes in wording to suit particular occasions or time periods and special parts might be added or omitted, but otherwise the service stays the same. I associate a strong feeling of comfort with the religious service at my church because I know what to expect. It is also something I look forward to each week to reaffirm my connection with God, my religious upbringing, and to obtain guidance for my life. Working on these pieces for the church website has helped me to expand as a writer and to understand myself a little better, a journey that I am proud of having traveled. My religion has been a part of me for all of my life, and I am thankful that it has continued to stay with me as an adult. I can count on it as an axis my world can peacefully turn on. It is now more to me than just something I accept; it is a part of my identity which I will never give up.