Monday, July 29

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

I recently watched the film Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close.

Parts of it grated on me. Like the fact that the protagonist (who is characterized so that the audience assumes he has some type of autism) had major difficulty communicating yet also had the perfect ratio of eye contact. How is that possible? But maybe it's something that only someone who has been there would notice.

Other parts struck me hard. When I was little I would never answer the telephone. Everything still has to make sense. I don't tell people I love them enough. I seem to break and make relationships worse before they ever get better. I do things that are probably outside of social bounds. I avoid loud noises, and for a long time couldn't handle someone touching me. It's hard to believe anyone can think like me.

I found myself aching inside, wondering. If I have so many problems... if there are so many things between me and other people, how am I ever going to make this work? The mom in the story went out before her son, priming every single person to accept and love and help him. I know that in the scriptures it says that God will go before our face, but I still find I often feel like a failure more than not.

Maybe the issue is that I over-think things. No... I'm pretty sure that's the issue. I look back on my life and see two distinct time periods. For years I lived in relationship bliss - totally and blissfully unaware that I was really different from other people, unaware of their thoughts or feelings and not really needing to care. Perfectly happy in being perfectly alone. And then the switch happened, and I suddenly realized people had thoughts and feelings other than what they communicated clearly, and that I couldn't read their minds... or their gestures... or their inflections in voice... and my lack became an obstacle in my newfound need for acceptance and people.

Part of me wishes I could go back to the bliss I once had. I know people who are my age, with ASD, who never had the switch. They still live in that (albeit imperfect) bliss.

And part of me wants to conquer the things that the universe has set in my path. To prove that, somehow, against the odds, I can overcome my fears. Or learn to communicate clearly. Or actually be a friend, and be befriended (and feel it) in return.

And then I wonder what God has in store. Whether a crisis that will smash the things I've worked for... and make me humble... or a miracle that will bless my life forever. Or bits of both.

Whatever happens, it'll work out. At least I know that much. And, at least in my life, it all eventually makes sense.


  1. Hey man, you're a good guy. I can only imagine autism, but i look up to your faith and kindness

  2. Great post David. You describe so well for us what it is like for you seeing the world through the lens of ASD.

    You wrote: "And part of me wants to conquer the things that the universe has set in my path. To prove that, somehow, against the odds, I can overcome my fears. Or learn to communicate clearly. Or actually be a friend, and be befriended (and feel it) in return." You see yourself from the inside. We see you from the outside. And I wish you could see how much that statement has already begun to come true. Maybe not the last 5 words yet. Only you can know if that is changing. But the rest of it.

    The mom in the movie went out ahead of her son, priming everyone. But in a way, you are doing that with your blog. Helping us understand. So we aren't so clueless. And, hopefully, so the love of your friends can eventually reach you. Because you already ARE greatly loved and valued. Believe it.

    Your courage and faith are not only inspiring, but also endearing. That, and your laugh, and your kindness and service, and how you never give up. I could easily add more stuff to that list, but will end for now with, "you're awesome!" I think that all the time, but forget to tell you sometimes. Thanks for this post which reminded me (even though that was obviously not your intention) that, as your friend, I need to do better.


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