During elementary and high school years, my classmates would talk things behind my back, tease me, and hit me physically. My mom would constantly remind me to just ignore the teasing or just say sorry, but I did otherwise. WHY? Why would I ignore them? Why would I say sorry when I was the one aggrieved? For me, it did not make sense. I did not know the meaning of the term “forgiving and letting go.” All I did was scream at them or hit back at them.
I found a shallow way to let go of my hurts and pains from my classmates. I stayed away from my high school batchmates and went to a college where no high school classmates went. In fact, I erased everything in my mind about my grade school and high school years.
I thought it was the solution, but the bullying continued. It was a different environment already, no familiar face, and still I could not stand my college classmates. I thought of them as bad influence because they make fun at class and befriend people the wrong way. I had to defend myself by hitting them back like a mixed martial arts fighter. Because of these, I felt I was an outcast. I just did well in my studies and my internship to survive college.
Even at home, I felt people were talking bad about me, especially one of our household helpers. I felt it was too much, so I hit her using a window screen. When they informed my mom about this, I realized that there was really something wrong with me. I needed help. She had to look for a doctor for me. At the age of 21, I found out I have Asperger’s syndrome.
Asperger’s syndrome is a “high-functioning” autism. People with Asperger’s have difficulty interacting with other people and have restricted range of interests and have repetitive behaviors. In short, I just talk a lot. It cannot be cured, but it can be worked on for one’s advantage.
Despite of my disorder, I graduated college in May 2010 with a degree of Bachelor of Science in Computer Science Information Technology with specialization in Computer Network Engineering
In February 2017, because of all the gossip in my second job, I submitted my resignation letter with a heavy heart. I looked for another job because I did not want to depend on other people. It was not easy. I was rejected several times. I felt depressed, and I felt that I was worthless. I pitied myself and this lasted for two months.
My mom would always ask me, “When will you get a job? What is your plan now?” At first, I could not give an answer because I was not ready. I often told myself that I was not fit for the corporate world. As I went through this lonely journey alone, I heard daily Masses because God was my recourse.
I realized that I was feeling depressed not because I was unemployed and unproductive. I realized that I was focusing more on myself. I was focusing on the pains, the rejections, my limitations, the people who caused me pain. I had difficulty forgiving, letting go, and letting God.
My mom told me:
“If you do not forgive, blessings and graces will not come your way. You should swallow your pride and forgive. Eat ‘humble pie.’ If your heart is full of anger and hatred, blessings are difficult to come by. Blessings cannot be seen or felt if we harbor hatred and anger.”
These statements struck me. The big question I asked myself then was HOW? How would I start this?
My mom taught me how to be a forgiving person by affirming these words every day:
“Lord, help me to be a forgiving person. Please forgive me for the wrong that I have done to others, and please help me forgive those who have hurt me.”
These are just basic statements that helped me begin to forgive. I learned to let go of my past hurts. I too have forgiven myself and my past. I pray that those whom I have hurt would also forgive me.
When I started forgiving, another job opportunity opened for me. It is a job that I like and is in line with the course that I took. I am more diligent now, more forgiving and patient. I am more productive and can handle more responsibilities.
Despite having Asperger’s, I am trying my best to be a better person, a better son, and brother. I try to be active in church, so that I can continue to learn and meet new people who can help me grow. I go to monthly confession because I need God’s grace of forgiveness and reconciliation. I need His help so that I too can forgive and understand myself and the people around me. I also learned how to forgive and accept my shortcomings. My journey of healing and reconciliation continue. I still get into conflicts and misunderstandings, but I always remember the words my mom told me.
We all go through tough times in life and we tend to blame everyone else except ourselves. But we find strength in the Lord that all will be well and with His help, through people like our loved ones, forgiveness and reconciliation will happen. With God’s grace and in His time, He will heal all our hurts and pains and make us whole.
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