A pink and white bedroom, black suits and a lifetime of conversations with God .
“Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done” Matthew 6:9 – 13
This prayer was written into the Christian biblical book of Matthew sometime around the year 70 or 80 as an example of “how to” and “what to” pray to the Heavenly Father.
Funnily enough despite a thirty year history of praying, I have only once uttered during prayer, those holy and sacred words.
I never needed help with knowing what to prayer for.
“ Dear God, please help me to be better”
“Dear God! Please help me to want to be willing!”
“Dear God! …I know that you know that I dislike how strict your way is …help me to love your way!”
“Dear God! Please take away my horrible nature and help me to be perfect like Jesus”
These were the authentic prayers of a little girls heart after she made her choice to be a Christian. I remember them dearly, they never changed much from the above variants.
Why was I making these particular requests? This is a valid question to ask. It was never a pre requisite task to pray before bed in my family. I don’t recall lessons on how to pray.
These words were not a recital, these were earnest words from a little girl’s heart oft times cried out in sobs to my God in heaven.
It’s interesting to ponder and ask how these particular prayers might relate to the beginnings of my active inner battle with the ADHD workings of my mind.
Of course these questions cannot be answered without first detailing how ADHD manifests for me and a more thorough look at the complex itself.
We’ll leave that for another day, for now, what is more important is a description of the beginning of my conversations with God and how they coincide with the beginning of a clear picture (for me) of my childhood ADHD.
I grew up a wilful child, not at all adverse to authority but strongly opinionated on matters where I could be assertive.
I have since decided this wilful assertiveness is a mix of both personality and an urgent inherent need to carve out an identity.
It seemed to be an endless struggle for me to be heard, to be understood, and appreciated, let alone accomodated for my “uniqueness”.
The presence of a strong Christian upbringing had a significant impact on my ongoing struggle of self will and self identity.
It’s a difficult subject to speak about and I will never do it justice in a short blog post.
What can be said is that as a Christian child with ADHD the road for me was strewn with desperate prayer, and endless conversations with God
I professed to serve God at the very young age of eleven. My mother had been reading my diary entries and commented that she thought “I was ready” … or in other words, that I had reached the age of understanding.
A pivotal moment…
The age of understanding is a in house Christian teaching about a “special” age that occurs usually around the ages of 13-16.
It is when a young person is old enough to understand the bible scripture, and mature enough to make a life choice in following the teaching and guidelines of this holy book.
quote:”To lay down ones life, take up ones cross and follow Jesus”
The understanding of this as taught to me was “say no to self and yes to Jesus”
I knew what this meant in terms of the pathway that had been outlined by the particular faith that I grew up in.
Task wise for me it meant testimony (speech making) of my weekly spiritual experiences.
It also meant following a certain manner of dress code and restriction of career choice and mainstream pleasurable pursuits.
What is particularly relevant is what I “knew” regarding this age of understanding. I was on my own.
In the eyes of God, my parents no longer covered me for my failings and sins. I was responsible for myself and the saving of my soul.
In retrospect this is the worst fear and burden that can take hold in the mind of an eleven year old imaginative child with ADHD.
I didn’t want to hear that I should go to God with my problems, I didn’t want to know that I was responsible for my sins and failings of human nature.
( Note: Our special children need to be cuddled longer, listened to more patiently, supported more heavily, and never ever have to feel that it’s all up to them. )
Sure, I had God, and from this moment on I sought his help on bended knee.
It’s ironic that despite my mother telling me “I was ready” prior to this, the thought had never entered my mind as an absolute. I’m not sure I even prayed before this.
I was engaging in the task of diary writing as a favourite pastime. My note-taking during sermons was a way to ease my difficulty in sitting still without fidgeting for an entire hour.
Later it provided me with a way to keep on track with what was being said, rather than gazing at the vast array of elaborate women’s hairstyles in front of me.
It’s not the standard to take notes during the weekly church meetings, especially not at 11 or 12 years of age. My fast little brain was able to write nearly word for word as fast as I heard.
I do know that note taking and diary entry regarding religious matters was a hobby at this age, rather than a sign of a personal spiritual awakening.
I’m not saying my mother got it wrong, because my choice for “right” was bound to have happened one way or the other, and sooner or later.
Let’s get back to the pivotal moment , and what I call the little pink bedroom incident.
My mother sat on the bed and closed the door. I had a pretty bedroom, decorated in girlish designer decor, my mother did her very best to ensure my bedroom was to my liking. For that I am most thankful, …environment and surrounding is especially important for a person with ADHD.
Mother asked the appropriate questions regarding my spiritual awakening and I’ve no doubt she received satisfactory answers.
I have no recollection of any feeling of resistance but a sharp memory of the bubbling excitement of that moment,… I couldn’t wait to tell Nana and Grandad! …how proud they would be of me !
Next thing I knew,
I had two male preachers sent into my bedroom, behind closed doors to discuss in private with “me” my “hearts decision”
I still have a clear visual image and emotional memory about that day.
Their black and white suits seemed so out of place against the biggie best prettiness of my pink and white bedroom, like a combo of candy floss and chocolate chips.
Their figures perched so awkwardly on the end of my bed as I, also awkward found a spot somewhere in between.
They felt so close and imposing yet these men were the nicest of men, respectful, softly spoken, kind, I called them Uncle Alex and Uncle Les.
But I didn’t hear one word of what they said.
Except, “my initiation would be a little different to most”. That suited me, I liked the idea of doing things differently.
From that day forward, reality hit home, I had to muster the strength to speak in meetings.
This fact alone had me down on my knees asking for the strength. I couldn’t back out, I had passed the point of no return in the delicate pinkness of my sweet little bedroom.
There in that pink little bedroom had occurred, the total collision of impulsivity, emotional deregulation, excitability, distraction, boredom, hyper focus/activity.
(It might not be clear to you just yet, but it’s ever so apparent to me, me as a person who understands exclusively how ADHD works inside my brain. )
From then on each week I would conduct an internal and external introspection of my self.
And from those deductions every week I felt I clearly was a self most unlike others.
To cut a long story short I became uncomfortable both at home and at school with my differences, a strange pill to swallow, when serving God meant being different from the world , and yet the same as the rest of his exclusive chosen few.
A state of conflict if there ever was one.
If it wasn’t for the generational appearance of ADHD you could almost be forgiven for thinking the cause of my ADHD was environmental.
What I do feel is that overall my environment wasn’t the most effective at supporting my burgeoning ADHD risks, but that’s nobodies fault.
To confuse matters however I believe one could imagine my inspired conversations with God were actually helpful, …at least they gave me hope, for the meanwhile.
Sometimes I wonder if my prayers are echoed on a global scale by every child and adult, Christian and non-Christian alike, who possess a brain like mine.
For instance, a prayer that I still utter to this day is this;
“My Magnificent Creator …
You see the reason, the rhyme and the rhythm to all that was, all that is, and all that will ever be.
You have created me.
You know how I am made , you know the innermost parts of my abyss, my hrart, my soul and my mind, I was born like this.
How much more must this life try me? Life is so hard for me, yet I see, there are others, worse off than me.
But I am suffering, how much more must I suffer? And all alone.
Help me to accept the burdens and insufficiencies placed upon me!
Keep my spirit strong so that I can get get through this day, that my mistakes may be few and my learning great.
May I have the energy to step outside of myself, that i might love, and hear another’s voice louder than my own.
May others be patient with me and love me despite my falling short or miles ahead from the standard marks.
For without some friends you know I have nothing!
I feel so small and inadequate!
What is the use of me? What is the purpose of life? Where is the place for me?
May wisdom have her way with me!
May I change for the better ! Those things that I can!