Do you ever have those moments when you know what you want to say, but your brain can’t process it fast enough to find the words at that instant so that you can articulate how you truly feel? Do you have moments when all you have is a bunch of emotions and crazy confusion brewing inside your head, and you literally feel like too much is happening at once and that you might just go insane?
Ok… so ‘going insane’ might be a little over-exaggerated, but at times I really do feel like there may be something terribly wrong with me. I feel slow, stupid, and incredibly inadequate. I can’t wrap my head around the fact that some people can quickly come back with smart answers when I’m still stuck debating the issue in my head. Obviously, I was never asked to be on a debate team in high school or college! :)
It gets even worse when I am in highly emotional situation. A lot of the time I feel like I’m being attacked by the other party/parties because my brain has not yet comprehended the conversation going on in front of me. At times I even feel lost and confused about how the conversation even got to that point of emotional interference. I normally never have anything good to come back with, which in turn puts me automatically on the defensive. My brain is still thinking “What the heck just happened?” But if you give me 30 minutes to an hour to put my thoughts together, I can normally come back with a logical point of view and sometimes a freaking awesome rebuttal! NORMALLY… but I’m not perfect.
As you can see, trying to understand my brain and how it works has been something I have struggled with my entire life. In 1st grade I was given a number of tests and an I.E.P that labeled me with dyslexia. It has always been a constant battle and I have always done my best to compensate for my less-than-average learning ability. In no way am I calling myself stupid, because I know that I’m not stupid. I actually believe that I’m quite smart.
Crazy Side Note Banter - Yes, I was one of those kids labeled “Special Ed.” Goodness, I hate that word! Don’t get me wrong, I know that schools have come a long way since I was there, but when I was in school the label “Special Ed” … well … to simply put it … it was social suicide! Why couldn’t they call us something different, something more uplifting like the “Gifted” kids had… maybe something cool like “Style Ed” since it is all about your learning style anyway, right? All in all, Special Ed helped me, but I had to work VERY hard.
But my brain is my brain and unfortunately there are things I will always have trouble with, things which at times still frustrate me to no end. Spelling, grammar, comprehension of things, and most importantly, how slowly my brain processes things compared to other people.
I know we are all unique and our brains all function very differently, but I’m slowly and sadly realizing that if people don’t struggle with an intangible thing such as a learning disability themselves, they almost never understand how hard it is and how frustrating it is for that person living with the problem. Your brain works faster than mine… but it’s not as easy as flipping a switch and telling my brain “Move a little faster, you’re falling behind!”
I’m finding that when people don’t understand, they tend to be cold and ignorant to what others go through. They believe that the problem is just something you made up in your head, something they’re not even going to attempt to empathize with at all. Unfortunately, that mind-frame soon breeds judgment. The person decides that “it’s just who you are.” They decide that a person will never change (like they can help what is going on inside them?). Judgment stems from false assumptions, and perceptions soon become fogged. I too am guilty of the very same ignorance that people sometimes bestow on me.
For instance, my mom has a disease called Fibromyalgia. My family likes to tease her (kiddingly of course) about this neurological disorder we really know nothing about. But because I don’t know what it feels like to be in pain ALL the time, it’s hard not to think sometimes… “Is this neurological complication really real?” I sit here writing this totally convicted and ashamed that I am not more compassionate, as I’m asking others to be more compassionate regarding how some people’s brains work.
How wrong am I to question that, when I too have a problem that no one can see! My mother has never once thought my dyslexia was made up, or just a ‘lazy side’ of Lyryn. Why would I ever think my mother could even make up such a thing as this disease that she lives with on a daily basis? Pure ignorance, that’s how! I don’t know what it’s like to live with that, but I do know what it’s like to live with something others can’t understand.
Because we are human and so perfectly imperfect, I think every one of us is guilty of being blind to another person’s personal struggle - especially those struggles which are unseen. I expect others to see where I’m coming from, yet pay little attention to the others around me. Being uncompassionate toward a fellow brother or sister’s weakness is just foolishness, and in no way are we walking our lives like Jesus would. I challenge not only myself but also you, this week, to search inside for something you feel like others can’t really understand about you. When you come across someone you can’t empathize with, put yourself in their shoes. Let’s start seeing their struggle from Jesus’ eyes and not our own.