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what God taught me from sharing a home with someone who has autism

“mom, I don’t mean to be rude, but I don’t think I can handle him living here anymore.” I hung up the phone. 

I have a 16 year old cousin named Jack. he is 6’3, loves Thomas the Train, Lilo and Stich, the weather, and talking with people. Jack is also autistic.
right now, I am living at home with my parents. long story short-Jack is living here too.

jack disrupts my time.

he talks a lot. he is hyper 90% of the day. he asks 1,000 questions a minute. (not kidding, we have to give him 5 questions per minute, then he isnt allowed to ask anymore for 10). he comes in my room and wakes me up while I’m asleep. or trying to relax. or tying to change clothes. 
his energy bounces off the walls.

he interrupts MY time. MY space. MY life.

or, so i thought.

I wonder-

Who gave me this time, space, life? surely I did not give it to myself.

after that phone conversation with my mom, i felt heavy. i felt sad. i felt selfish, ashamed.

since when would i treat, consider, a person like a mere annoyance and inconvenience? 

when it gets hard, that’s when. 

you see, it’s easy to love my friends, immediate family, people from afar. they talk just the perfect amount, they get social cues, they give me personal space. they smile and go about their ways and let me be. they aren’t autistic.

who did Jesus love? 

everyone. even the hard. especially the hard. the people that are overlooked, written off as weird, crazy. the abandoned. the people that everyone thought didn’t deserve love. 


gosh! who am I? I claim to follow the God of love and here I am, wanting a person who inconveniences me gone from my presence. wanting to “not deal with it anymore.”

c.s. Lewis writes “We want Him to exist for our well being and do nothing that would inconvenience us. We want His love to be indulgent…” 

i sit and “woe is me” to God because loving Jack is too hard. too much. 

I want God to indulge in my selfishness, my belief that life is about me.

that my life is mine. my time is mine. my space..mine. 

I want following Jesus to be convenient for me-comfortable. I want to do it when it’s easy, when I feel like it. not all the time, no matter the circumstances. I love people who are easy to love. I automatically steer clear from those who make it a little more difficult. it takes work. its uncomfortable.  

this is not Jesus. this..this is not the Gospel.

if life is about Jesus, we will choose to love when its hard. because people deserve it. Jack deserves it. 

if its about us, we will choose to love when we feel like it, when it feels convenient for us-and what an empty life. 

love is a choice. and the choice to give it or withhold it, is up to us. 

this life is not ours. our time is not ours. our space, not ours. if we claim to follow Jesus, it’s all His.

I wonder if the cross was uncomfortable, hard. 

surely it was.




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