Day 37 – Autism, illness, love and faith.

Being unwell has some odd effects on me.  I’ve been told that some of this is probably due to the autism, some is just the way my particular body and mind work and some is common to most people.

I’m normally a calm and quite happy person and well able to keep my head in difficult, even threatening, circumstances.  This is why I did well working with children who had emotional and behaviour problems when I first qualified as a teacher.  However when I get sick I become less able to manage as well as I normally do emotionally.  This tends to come out in the evenings when I’m tired.  I find myself getting tearful for reasons I can’t understand.  Because of the autism, I sometimes don’t notice other symptoms for a long while so the first sign on me getting ill is my emotions.  Then when I take my temperature and check myself over I find I’m feverish and unwell.

Once I realise what’s going on and start to take care of the illness I get medical help and proper bed-rest.  Then although I still feel horrible physically, emotionally I begin to feel better.  As soon as the fever begins to break I start to sleep a lot.  After a few days of that, when the illness goes, even though in this case I’m still left with a cough, it’s like waking up on a sunny morning after a night of heavy rain – everything is fresh and clean and quiet in my mind and I feel closer to God than usual.

It was in this state of mind that I drew the following in my sketchbook…



The symbol on the left is from a Catholic group called the Jesus Caritas Fraternity, although it is my own design of their idea.  I’m not Catholic myself (I’m Baptist) but I have a dear friend of many years, another teacher, who is.  She’s a musician too and we’ve played in catholic and protestant churches all over our home town.  Anyway the Caritas people concentrate on bringing the love of God to people who are abandoned and marginalised in a quiet, lowly way.  They don’t push conversion, instead they love people and care for them unconditionally believing that when people feel the love of God for themselves, then conversion becomes natural.  This is how it was for me.  Having read some books related to all of this by a chap called Carlo Caretto I came to see this symbol as meaning the love of God in Jesus and it became really very personal for me.

Many years later I ended up getting a tattoo of this symbol with the Japanese character Dao 道, which means road, path, way.  The design I did for this was…


It’s on my foot as a reminder to always walk in the path of the love of God – like a prayer which is always with me.  🙂

Anyway the picture on the right, of the shepherd and sheep kind of expresses a bit, that feeling I was trying to convey when I previously tried to draw some more religious art a month of so ago and ended up giving up.  It shows, for me I think, the love and safety and wholeness I feel so much from my faith.  (The shepherd is supposed to be Jesus and I’m the sheep.)

Here’s the final image…