Sunday, November 11

4 Days Left: Family and Friends

It's hard for me to keep in touch with the people I care about. For whatever reason, most of my relationships dry up and disappear as time goes on; very few last beyond the circumstances that brought us together. Well... at least that's what happens in my mind.

That constantly makes me feel guilty. I should be a better friend. More involved in people's lives. More accessible and more open to receiving service. But years of therapy still hasn't identified exactly what I can do to overcome what feels like an insurmountable chasm in relational dynamics. Most people can't tell, because I meet them in a place where I can play a role - student, counselor, colleague, consultant... but I can, and I try to do anything I can to keep relationships alive.

One of the things I do to try is write a letter to family and friends. It's a carryover from the days of my mission. It used to be every week, but then I started (Gay) Mormon Guy and wrote in a few other places... and, long story short, I got creatively exhausted before it was even time to write my letter each week. But as time has gone on I've realized cognitively how much people care about me, even if something about autism keeps me from being able to completely feel it in my heart.

Looking back, I've been inordinately blessed to have amazing people in my life. Mentors/friends who don't seem to see anything wrong with me. Girls I date who, even after I've taken them through an exhausting experience and they've been married, stay connected to my life. Teachers and colleagues and people from church and community who all rally together when I need the faith of someone to support me. And the people here... because I consider all of you my friends.

And then there's my family.

I've told you a little about them before. My parents are superstars in my mind - my mom studied rocket science and my dad is a successful entrepreneur (the kind who runs his business thereafter, not the kind who makes it and sells it ASAP). I'm the oldest of the oldest on both sides, and have a gazillion younger cousins. And my family is close. I know most of my first and second cousins, great-aunt and uncles... and everyone going out two or three generations. And they know and love me.

It's been a long process to appreciate that love - to learn to rely on people. Maybe it's partly because my family is so self-sufficient, and partly because when I'm at my lowest, no one but God can help. But that's one of the biggest difficulties I face now - how do I learn to honestly need people... and how do I communicate those needs? I do need people in my life. People who love me, who want to understand me, and who are willing to just involve me in the things they do and engage me in spirituality. But for whatever reason, I'm terrible at communicating that... especially, it seems, in the very conversations that could lead in that direction.

Oh well. Thankfully, my family is here to stay. And of the friends who are in my life now, most have already made an investment to be here for the long run. Which means that I can be imperfect in this... and maybe they can help me along the way.


  1. just a question, because this is something I think about,
    how do you appreciate the love of God? is that hard for you to do? I find in my head I can know God loves me, but my heart does not know that. do you ever find yourself thinking the same way? (just how you mentioned about cognitively knowing people love you. that is how I feel about God.)

    1. I don't have that problem. I cognitively know that people love me, but have a hard time internalizing that. But when it comes to God, I know implicitly and explicitly that He loves me and is involved in my life. Maybe that's because I've had so much more interaction with Him. That may be the case - as I can feel my family's love as well as time has gone on.


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