The Big Reveal

(Warning: This video contains strong language.)

Comedian Hannah Gadsby begins her new show, Douglas, by telling her audience what to expect. “This way I can meet your expectations–or alter them,” she says with a smile. Gadsby goes on to say that partway through the show, “The lights will come in, I’ll sit on this stool here, and there’ll be a ‘big reveal’.” The big reveal is that she has autism.

I sat there, gobsmacked. For most of her life, Gadsby didn’t know she was on the spectrum. Wow. And despite having autism–or perhaps because of it–she has become very successful.

Slowly over the next two days, I began to connect the dots. Like others I know who have autism,  I can be intensely focused on a special interest and instantly upset when plans get changed unexpectedly. I can be blunt and unaware of other people’s feelings.

When I expressed my suspicions to a couple of friends, they listened compassionately without questioning me. I was onto something.

Two online tests I completed indicated that I may have borderline high-functioning autism. In those tests, I saw more evidence of autism: I tend to notice and get disturbed by small sounds that others may not notice or care about. I have difficulty putting myself in another person’s shoes. It takes effort to be a good diplomat. I somehow get into tricky or complicated situations. It takes me longer than others to get a joke.

As a longtime ally to a loved one with autism, I know that people on the spectrum can learn to compensate for these tendencies, and I have. But it takes effort. I need more time and calmness to get there.

When I talked about my revelation with my spiritual director, I cried through most of the session. She asked me about my tears.

“I’m relieved to understand why some things are so hard for me and what contributed to hurtful events,” I said, then teared up again. “And I feel such compassion from God. I’m not selfish, as I have believed for so long. I’m just wired differently.”

I went on to say that I can see how being wired this way has been a gift. “Being on the spectrum has helped me write my blog vulnerably without being held back by how my words might affect others.”

The week it all came together, I wrote and posted this poem. Last week God gave me this prayer: May I live with integrity as a loving presence in the world.

Living with integrity means I need to be an ally and lovingly present to myself now as I see myself and the world through new eyes. I sense such tenderness from God who calls all created things good.

For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
 –Psalm 139:13-14a (NIV)

∗ ∗ ∗

Love Mischief for the World

Kei Miller’s poem ‘Book of Genesis’ asks us to imagine a God who makes things spring into life specifically for us,” writes Pádraig Ó Tuama in Poetry Unbound. “Just as the poet of Genesis proclaims, ‘Let there be,’ Miller wonders what freedom and flourishing we’d find in imagining a ‘Let’ pronounced not for the person others say we should be, but for the person we are.”  Click here to listen to Ó Tuama read and comment on this “Poem for Letting Yourself Be.” Miller, who was born and raised in Jamaica, is a professor of English and creative writing at the University of Exeter. His books of poetry include The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion, winner of the Forward poetry prize, There Is an Anger That Moves, and A Light Song of Light. His novels include The Last Warner Woman and most recently, Augustown.

What love mischief are you and God doing for the world?
Let me know and I will include it in an upcoming post.

Credits and References:
Artwork and photo Knit Together by Kelly Dycavinu © 2011. Used with permission.
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2020.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without permission from Esther Hizsa is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used provided there is a link to the original content and credit is given as follows: © Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim 2013-2020.

About Esther Hizsa

Esther is a spiritual director and writer. She lives in Burnaby with her husband, Fred, and they have two grown children and two grandchildren.
This entry was posted in compassion, Poetry, Reflections, Spiritual Direction, Stories and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The Big Reveal

  1. Tanya Thiessen says:

    Love and hugs Esther!!! You have such a sweet vulnerable heart! May you keep learning how precious you are! Tanya


  2. Pingback: The Wisdom of Tara Brach and Pádraig Ó Tuama | An Everyday Pilgrim

  3. Pingback: Borderline | An Everyday Pilgrim

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.