I have a secret.
Someday, I want to be a theologian.
Yes, I want to spend my life working for justice and love and other good things. No, I’m not going to grad school (much to the dismay of my professors). Yes, I would be much more content running a bakery in Palestine than being a professor in the States.
But I still want to be a theologian.
And I don’t really know why. It makes no sense to me. But that’s what I’m going to school for, even though I had planned, up until what I sort of call my freshman year of college, to be a pharmacologist. Theology makes me feel alive in ways that other areas of study do not.
I have another secret, though. One that makes this dream, and everything else about life, much more difficult.
I have Asperger’s Syndrome.
Most people who know me have no clue that I do. I didn’t, until I was in high school and wasn’t developing emotionally in the way that I was apparently supposed to (because every teenage girl needs to be on an emotional rollercoaster, right?) and, after a series of diagnostic tests and awkward conversations with psychiatrists, it became clear that I had AS. Because I had already reached my teens by the time I was diagnosed, I had already learned to cope with it. I thought I was just a weird kid who was socially awkward, and I needed to fix that if I ever wanted to be “successful” in life.
The few people I told after I found out asked me if I was okay, did I need a hug (no, please get off me, you’re too close), did I want to talk about it. They talked to me as if I had just been diagnosed with a disease.
But I was feeling like everything finally made sense.
I wasn’t weird, or crazy, or abnormal. I just have a brain that works differently than other people’s brains.
It seemed natural, then, that I would go into a field like pharmacology. It was science (so it depended on reason and fact, things I could easily grasp), and it would allow me to isolate myself in a lab with perhaps two or three other people who I would only have to interact with on a professional level (read: I didn’t have to be friends with them if I didn’t want to.)
But, despite my efforts to the contrary, I feel called to the field of theology.
It’s strange, being a theology major and having AS. People use the phrase “I feel…” or “I believe…” as a precursor to nearly every statement. The word “fact” is our F-word (incidentally, the F-bomb gets dropped by my professors on a regular basis). Often, I don’t understand concepts that come naturally to other people (like how God could be loving and wrathful simultaneously). Much emphasis is placed on the spiritual nature of this realm, which is completely foreign to me (I tried the whole charismatic thing. I was freaked out the whole time and I felt like people were always trying to get inside my head. Take prayer, for example. For me, it is a conversation with a being who I simply am unable to see, not an esoteric, other-worldly experience). I usually feel incapable because my emotional reasoning is almost non-existent.
This is true, too, in marriage. My husband is an INFJ, so he processes emotionally and is very feeling-oriented. I am an ISTJ–I process by reason and logic and I am very fact-oriented. It’s a constant learning experience.
I am faced with two realities: 1. I have AS, and 2. I want to be a theologian. It is always a battle to reconcile the two. Especially when most theological issues demand some ability to understand non-logical reasoning.
Here I am, at the end of my post, and I have no idea why I’m telling you this. Perhaps it’s because I need to share my weaknesses. Perhaps because I want to show you my location so that you can understand my theology better. Perhaps I just want more traffic and more posts will get me that. I don’t know.
I think, though, that I’m sharing this because I know that we bond best when we are honest with one another. I’m tired of keeping these secrets. This is a part of who I am, and denying that doesn’t bring about anything good.
I’m a work in progress.