I went to an art exhibit this past week that had paintings of Jesus Christ. One painting showed Christ drawing on the ground with his finger when the woman caught in adultery was brought before him. I was intrigued by this painting because drawing with my fingers is something I do often and could be considered stimulatory behavior. I wrote about stim in another post and how it can be used to focus thoughts and emotions. Stim can also be used to help block out what is happening around us. I wonder if Christ wrote on the ground because it helped him block out the heat, pressure and demands of the crowd around him. In this time of expectation and desire for condemnation, I’m sure Christ needed a way to focus on what was right despite the noise around him.
Drawing has been one of the most effective ways for me to deal with the world. When I do not have a pencil and paper handy, I often draw with my fingers. Throughout school I drew in nearly every class. I would draw on the sides of my binder and even sometimes on the back of tests. Drawing was a way for me to concentrate and block out the noise and sensory input of the rest of the world. I enjoy tracing out patterns on clothing and furniture. I often feel a sense of peace as I focus on my drawings.
My drawings do not always have meanings and I often simply draw lines in checkered or spiraled patterns. The drawing itself isn’t as important as the attention given to the drawing. These drawings are meant to focus your attention away from uncomfortable feelings and toward peaceful ones.
Although I am by no means suggesting that Christ had autism, I believe that this Biblical story can teach us something about autism and about focusing our thoughts. In times of stress we are given ways to draw ourselves into a sphere of quiet contemplation and I believe that drawing is one gift that can help us do that.