I LOVE EASTER! I have so many wonderful memories of Easter as a kid at my grandparent’s home. In fact, those are the only memories I have of my grandparents. Grandma’s geraniums with their prolific blooms lining the windowsill even today brings me wafts of their earthy smells to my senses 50 years later. Getting dressed for church with my new Easter hat and little white gloves and a chocolate bunny joyously discovered at the foot of Grandma’s brass bed lined high with her quilts. That chocolate bunny, I swear, was almost as big as I was.
And of course, Easter means so much to me spiritually – a risen Christ! I still get goosebumps every Easter Sunday when we sing “Christ the Lord has risen today – Hallelujah!” It is my all time favourite hymn.
Mixed in with these wonderful memories and traditions are some very sad times from the last few years. Two years ago on Easter Sunday my Aunt Marion died suddenly. Then last year on Easter Sunday my Uncle Bob, her husband, joined his sweetheart in Heaven. A strange but touching story, certainly filled with much sorrow but also tinged with a wisp of everlasting love and hope.
So it was as Easter approached this year, my logical, mathematical, autistic mind that thrives on making sense of the world through finding patterns started anticipating that the pattern would just continue. Mom, my uncle’s sister, would follow suit and would go to Heaven on this Easter Sunday. To you that may seem totally illogical but to my mind the pattern made perfect sense. So as Easter got closer and closer my fear of losing Mom got stronger and stronger. By Easter Sunday I was gripped with overwhelming fear that I would lose her sometime on that day.
For many of us with autism, patterns are what help make sense of our world. Our need for sameness, for predictability helps sooth our anxious thoughts. Much of the time I convert activities, thoughts etc into mathematical – like formulas that will always ensure a predictable outcome. Unfortunately, in this world, the word out is that “change” is the only thing that is predictable. Try as I might I cannot control my world. And unfortunately, for us as autistics, our need for patterns can cause great anguish like in this case, rather than sooth us. It’s a double bind sometimes.
I must say that as I woke the day after Easter and Mom was still with me I was overjoyed. This was one time when I sure was happy my patterns did not follow their supposed course. What relief! What joy! To know that I still had Mom with me was the best Easter gift anyone could ever give me.
This Easter the dreaded pattern was broken. I can relax now until some new pattern of my mind finds its way into my life. It’s funny because Easter is all about breaking the pattern of humanity. Christ died so the pattern of death is broken for all time. Believing in Jesus, brings us life forever in heaven with Him. And that’s a pattern that is written in his blood and death on the cross. NOTHING can change it. So I leave this Easter behind knowing I still have my Mom and knowing that the promise of life everlasting will never be broken. My patterns may come and go and be broken over and over but God is the same yesterday, today and forever. He will never change. Wow! That’s pretty cool to my autistic mind. HE HAS RISEN. HE HAS RISEN INDEED!