October is Dyslexia Awareness Month. 1 out of 5 people have dyslexia and many don’t even know it. Most schools are not equipt to deal with the learning differences persons with dyslexia face. So I’m re-posting from my other website Well Bless My Soul that deals with spirituality for those with dyslexia.
If you have had any learning difficulties throughout your life, I encourage you to check out one of the free screening sites for dyslexia that are available online.
One link is: http://www.dyslexia.com/dyslexiatest/
Dyslexia ~ My Story
Like many persons with dyslexia, I experienced trauma and confusion in my childhood. In grade one and two I spent much of the time standing out in the hall or in front of the class with my face to the chalkboard or sitting in the corner. The humiliation instilled a sense of unworthiness within me that affected my sense of self worth for many years.
I went through first grade without knowing the alphabet or learning to read. In grade 2 the teacher sent home a list of words I needed to practice every night. Words like “ who, what, about, under, and, the”. (the Dolch Word Lists)
To tolerate my confusion in the classroom I talked and daydreamed a lot.
Consequently my report cards labeled me as “Unsatisfactory” in conduct and effort.
The message was always: “Linda just needs to listen and try harder.”
So I’d be punished at school and then punished at home. Many years I spent “grounded” because I had fallen short at school. There was never any assistance to help me with these difficulties. I only got the message that I was “bad”.
I was super curious about everything in life, but there was no way to express this in the school setting, and at home I got into big trouble, resulting in constant spankings.
Please know that I hold no resentment for having these experiences. This is the way things were dealt with back in those days. I tell this story to give you an awareness of how dyslexia shaped my life.
Looking back, I noticed a pattern ~ ~ there were times when I wrote a story or did an art project and the teacher would be so impressed that she would want to keep it for various reasons. I realized these were instances when I was allowed to let my creativity flourish, and I excelled.
Spirituality was always a major theme in my life.
We lived right across from the Lutheran church where I went to Sunday School every Sunday and Choir School on Saturday mornings. I loved the use of pictures with our lessons; I loved the craft activities that gave further meaning to the lessons; and I especially loved twice a year when they showed films about Jesus’ life at Christmas and Easter. I loved the dynamic Christmas pageants we did every year. These activities made the stories come ALIVE for me. The rest of the time I struggled hard to use restraint in order to keep quiet and sit still in the church setting.
But I came to love the wonder of spiritual things.
I had many unique experiences with visions and mystical experiences that I learned could not be shared with others because it was “wrong”.
I fully believed what the Bible said, but for me it had to move beyond WORDS and be lived out in our daily lives. I loved the inspiring stories at Vacation Bible School told by missionaries who had served in foreign countries.
My favorite theme was “Jesus loves the little children. All the children of the world.”
I came to feel alienated from others in my faith tradition.
I felt lost in all the wordiness of theology and liturgy.
I needed a personal relationship with God through Jesus as well as the community of faith with others.
I needed a variety of symbolic rituals and sacred spaces to add meaning to God’s Presence in my life.
I needed new and creative forms of music and worship.
Even as a pastor I sensed that others thought me a bit weird.
It was hard being ridiculed and discounted for my expression of spirituality that meant more to me than anything else in my life.
I learned to squelch my true spirituality.
But when I discovered the characteristics of dyslexia, suddenly it all made sense.
It opened the way to a new understanding of what had occurred in my life.
I no longer belittle my spirituality and experiences with the Divine.
This is who I am created to be ~ and I celebrate this!
If our brains with dyslexia process life differently, of course we will experience God in ways that are unique to our way of being and knowing. This opens the way to knowing we are fully blessed and loved by God just as we are ~ ~ dyslexia and all.
I have wondered if there are others with dyslexia who are struggling to be accepted for their unique ways of expressing their spirituality. That is why I feel called to offer this website as a place to discover what this might look like.
So I invite you to explore this Realm of the Spirit with open hearts and minds.
May the Blessings of God’s Grace rest upon you and give you peace.
~ Anna Lin