Don’t Touch

Is a touch always welcome? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

“And how would you like to respond when someone pats you on the back and you don’t want that?” my therapist asks me.

“Ideally, with a judo throw across the room.”

It would certainly get the point across!

Touch is a very important matter. If you can have a hard time with someone you don’t know saying words to you, touch can go a step further. Naturally, we all know there are ways that you shouldn’t touch certain people that are definitely inappropriate. That tells us that touch is nothing simple. It’s important and can convey a message.

When people ask my love languages, I tell them I have found them to be words of affirmation and physical touch. I tell a story on the latter about how when I was engaged to my ex-wife, we went to an event at SES that was to get donors. I told her we should go because if I’m in ministry, I could need to know these donors as well.

So we’re at a table before anything has been brought out laughing and sharing with the people and then the servers come by. They come to my table and say to me “And what will you have sir?”

At that point, it was just me and him in the world. I was a deer caught in the headlights. I was in absolute terror. I don’t want anything. This is a social situation. This is giving me anxiety. What do I do? What do I say?

Then I feel a warm hand under the table on my leg.

“He’s not having anything, but he’s fine. He’s just finicky.”

That touch meant so much. Throughout my marriage, I came to love that touch. It is still something I miss.

Even still, there are some exceptions. Sometimes when I go back to see my folks, my mother wants to clean my glasses and will attempt to take them off of my face on her own. I always resist this. This is something I wouldn’t even let my ex-wife do.

As I think about it, it can be that while I love words of affirmation so much, words of condemning are extremely hurtful. In the same way, if touch I want is cherished, touch I don’t want is rejected. It is crossing a boundary.

I know people mean well by it, but I wince whenever I’m walking through a crowd and someone wants to be friendly and pats me on the back. Not only do I not like that, but keep in mind I have a steel rod on my spine. That’s sensitive.

Sometimes, I have told people to just not touch me. I am now thinking to tell them to wait. I need to get to a place of trust with someone before I trust them. At the same time, there are times I think I do need some friendly touch. I just want to make sure it is from people I can fully consider friends.

Be careful with people in the spectrum in your life. Just because you think a touch can be loving doesn’t mean they will receive it as loving. It can never hurt to ask something like “Can I give you a hug?”

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

New Autism Video

How can the church improve with people on the spectrum? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

This will be a short blog entry. I normally wouldn’t do something like this, but this is an important video series I think needs to get out. I was thinking of doing a series on eschatology, and that will probably come in the future. For now, I am thinking some blog posts however on that topic since I did surprise someone I admire recently with my viewpoints on end times.

Honestly, I made this video on Sunday, but I made some mistakes with how to render it properly and a lot of technical stuff and I thank a friend of mine who helped me out. In the future, I hope to someday learn how to make better videos with at least basic effects and editing. For now, this is just going to be me talking about my own experiences and thoughts on the matter.

In future videos, I will be looking at other points on how I think the church can do better to reach people on the spectrum. After all, these are also people that Jesus loves and died for and they need to know that as well. The language you use to reach someone on the spectrum will be vastly different from what you use to reach your everyday neurotypical.

For me, making the videos is ultimately the easy part. After I distribute them, it is up to the rest of the church what they will do with them. Do we want to heed the call to show Christ to the person on the spectrum, or are we going to just let this group of people fall by the wayside, which would be in disobedience to Christ? One reason I am sending this out via blog is in the hopes that some of you will watch, share, and ultimately, act.

Please keep an eye on my channel for the latest videos as I plan to produce them more often. The best way to do that, of course, is to subscribe. Also, if you really like what you see, please do consider becoming a partner on Patreon. Every little bit helps.

And here is the video:

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Autism Awareness: Touch

Should this be a hands-on situation? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

It might sound like a shock to you, but one of my love languages I think is touch. However, that only really applies in a romantic relationship. If it is any other kind of relationship, touch is intrusive and I don’t really care for it. I need to know someone before I can feel comfortable with their touch.

Touch is passing a boundary. It is becoming more real than before and it is an uncomfortable sensation at times, especially if you’re not expecting it. If someone wants to pray for me in a church service and suddenly puts their hand on my shoulder even, I am not thinking about the prayer but instead internally saying “Please move your hand. Please move your hand. Please move your hand.”

This doesn’t apply to just strangers. With my own family, I can tend to accept it, but it’s not my favorite thing. If my mother didn’t think I had done a good job shaving in the morning and wanted to show me where and got her finger and started touching specific parts of my face, I would recoil every time.

Another kind of touch I hate and this no one gets to do is to take off my glasses from me. Again, I can’t explain why that is, but if someone takes off my glasses or puts them on me, it is highly intrusive. If I went to a doctor and he needed to look into my eyes, I wouldn’t let him take my glasses off. I would do it myself.

In a romantic relationship, I seem to connect that touch to love a lot easier and I can enjoy that kind of touch. That kind of touch is also in its own way, exclusive. No one else gets to give touches like that to me.

This is coming from someone who is high-functioning. Now picture it coming from someone who is not like that. How will they react to a touch?

Let’s take this over to a church service. As much as I think Corona is overblown, I am certainly appreciative of one aspect. Greeting time has gone out the window. No one is coming over to shake my hand that I don’t know. That was always the part of the service I liked the least.

If you’re dealing with someone on the spectrum, be very careful about touch. Actually, that’s a good piece of advice for anyone since there are plenty of people not on the spectrum who are not crazy about touches from people they don’t know. Just because they allow you to touch them doesn’t mean that they are liking it. If you do get to the point of touch however and it is welcomed, then you have crossed a huge boundary and you can personally celebrate that.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)
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