Without dismissing or belittling the suffering and feelings of severely sick or mentally / physically disabled individuals and their parents, I think that the reality of high-functioning autism is particularly poignant. At some level, they know that they are different; different in a way that does not allow them to “fit in”. They live in the constantly moving frontier between what is “normal” and what is not. To make things worse, they have not a clue about how to fix it, and they do suffer for it. People with autism generally lack many of the cognitive tools that people use to interact with others, like detecting subtle (or even not so subtle) social clues, being aware of what is appropriate or inapropriate, etc., but make no mistake, the feelings are all there… As everyone, they want to be a part ot “it”. Humans crave companionship and validation, it is our nature. Think about teenagers; autistic or not, they desperately want to be accepted, to feel that they belong.
All of this sometimes makes me think that absolutely everyone, at any given point in life, has a certain degree of autism when dealing with spiritual matters. In this sense, are we all “almost normal“? Do we all have some awareness of a higher reality that we do not quite grasp, that we do not quite understand, while at the same time passionately, desperately, wanting to be a part of it?