My idea of a good friend is someone who – at the end of your life, if God asked who your friends were, you would not feel the list complete without their name – and even better if you could not help but smile as you said it. It doesn’t mean the person you spent the most time with, or that you’d call on the weekend. It just means someone who you knew cared for you, and brought you happiness in doing so. That’s what I want to be.   But no matter how much I now understand what is in my heart and realize now that I should credit myself with my inherent goodness and loving nature, I cannot help but ache at feeling not able to translate that into knowing how to behave outwardly to effectively share that part of me with people I love. 

  I want so much to learn that. To believe that I can transcend the awkwardness of autism just by harnessing the love in my heart. But that wish does not grant me understanding where it isn’t. It does not give me insights I don’t have or make visible things I cannot see. All it does is deepen the sadness at wondering if I do or can ever convey what I so deeply wish I could. 

  For me, the people I most value are those in whom I see quality and depth of character. It does not mean I think they are perfect. It does not mean that I cannot see flaws or weaknesses – it just means that to me those things pale in the light of what I see as wonderful. And I see that wonder in so many…

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