In the last post, you read the history of my religious faith and how my Asperger’s like traits effected it. This time, I thought I would look more at the Asperger’s side of it, at least according to what was going on in my own mind. The hardest part to this is thinking about where the best place to start is. For the first few years after my coming to Jesus, things went pretty straight forward for me. Most of the trials I suffered seemed to be resolved with help from above. The biggest was the terrible bullying I suffered in sixth and seventh grades, which ended when I moved out of that town at the beginning of eighth grade. Still I was able to accept everything as God’s will and thought not to question.
I think my real trials started when I was sixteen during the second summer I worked at that bible camp. I went through a period there where I couldn’t seem to do anything right and I was convinced that I was frustrating my supervisor and some of my work colleagues. One night, after making what I thought were some silly errors in a softball game, I drew the conclusion that the only reason God put me on the Earth was so that he could have a good laugh at all my mishaps. I felt worthless like I was the joke of the world. Unfortunately for me, I never talked to anyone about it, instead I depended on prayer and bible reading for the answer. The result of that led me to believe I was committing blasphemy and that was the only reason why I stopped thinking that way. However, that thought never completely went away. Whenever I had an embarrassing moment or was the target, I sometimes believed that the Lord was having his laughs at my expense. It all became very confusing in my mind.
The big problem was that except for that those couple of summers, especially the last one of my youth, my life didn’t seem to be all that happy. The worst of it seemed those few months after that summer when I couldn’t find an after school job before finally getting a paper route. In the years after my backsliding, I would sight this as part of the reason. It seemed things would generally not go well for me and no matter how much I prayed, the Lord would only come to my aid when things got really bad. But he would only do just enough to keep stringing my faith along.
More evidence of this manifested itself when I was on Parris Island. Boot camp was like a roller coaster ride going from high to low throughout the entire twelve weeks. For example, I gave great praise to God when I maxed the first phase tests only to be caught by the senior drill instructor sitting down during the barracks clean up two days later. Then the next day, turning in a shocking performance at the initial drill competition in spite of my platoon winning it. Two weeks later, I thought the Lord had abandoned me again when I was kicked off the rifle range for committing a safety violation. During the next week, it looked unlikely I was going to qualify with the rifle but I thought the Lord was with me on qualification day as I qualified quite easily. I went back to my original platoon only to be threatened with disciplinary action for not locking my rifle up. Here, in my mind, the Lord did perform a miracle because when the platoon came back from an inspection, which I failed, three quarters of the platoon had forgotten to lock up the rifles. It was enough to set the drill instructors on me and it seemed nothing was going right; like the time rust was found on my rifle. Whether or not I was going to graduate came down to final inspection which, after everything going wrong that morning, I passed seemingly with flying colours. So, I was allowed to graduate.
Naturally, I praised God for coming through for me in the end but even then he seemed to do just enough to get me through. I think as things progressed after that, I became of the same attitude, I would do just enough for the Lord to get through but then the verse about being lukewarm took hold so I thought it best to be cold. After all, it didn’t seem to me that God cared all that much. As a result, I stopped trying to live for God and started living for me. Things became less confusing for me on that part after that. Now, because I was in the marines at the time, many said that I was led astray by the evil heathens that make up America’s peacetime military. No, that’s not the case. Sure, the Corps provided the means and definitely the encouragement but they weren’t the cause. I made the choices and blaming the marines is just a cop out.
Next post: Religion and He Was Weird