Alex's story: 'Narnia helped me understand the Gospel'
Alex was diagnosed with classic autism when he was four. He remembers, "My earliest memories were of the world being a terrifying place ..."
Alex Lowery’s life has been quite a journey. His mum Sylvia unpacks something of Alex’s story – and his strong Christian faith – that now sees him a published author and speaker on autism
Alex was diagnosed with classic autism when he was four.
He remembers, “My earliest memories are of the world being a terrifying place. I had delayed language and would scream and hurt myself as I had one meltdown after another. My mother says she was afraid of me growing up, and she wondered how I would ever believe in God.
“At three or four years of age I began to have meltdowns when I was taken into church. I thought the lights were scary gods – and I found the music terrifying. I would cry ‘I can’t go in there, there’s gods in there!’ I found talk of God really scary.
“I knew that God had something to do with church and so I thought the Pastor must be God and the Elder who had a beard must be Jesus. A scary thought – God walking around the church giving out communion!”
As Alex gained language skills he still struggled to believe in a God he could not see.
He recalls his feelings at this time: “I reached a point where I just felt that there was no God. The church service did nothing but bore me. I would have rather stayed at home and watched The Muppets than go to church. When the preacher was speaking I would think in my head, ‘Shut up ! Be quiet! I’m bored! I’m bored!’.
“I had real difficulty understanding things I couldn’t see. I was told the story of The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe by C.S.Lewis, and watched the BBC TV series. In the story a boy called Edmund betrays his family just so he can have more of the White Witch’s Turkish delight.
“It was the law of Narnia that a traitor would die on the stone table. However, Edmund became truly sorry for betraying his brother and sisters, and the great lion Aslan died instead of Edmund.
“I was told that Aslan was a picture of the Lord Jesus and Edmund was a picture of people. We are all lost but God loved us so much he sent his only Son to die on the cross for us, so that whoever asks God to forgive them will be saved.
“Because Narnia was something that I enjoyed and was something visual, it helped me to understand the Gospel. Not only did it help me to believe and trust in our Creator, it also opened the door to other concepts. I started to believe that the world was round and there were other countries.”
Alex still has many struggles in his life, and he needs a lot of support from his family. He lives with anxiety that will make him feel as he did when he had meltdowns as a child, but he is helped by God to control this a lot better.
He has been able to make sense of having autism by knowing and trusting in a God who doesn’t make mistakes.
Alex believes his autism is a gift and God has given him autism to help others understand what it is like to have autism.
He is now a public speaker on autism, and has spoken at universities, schools, colleges and conferences. Alex received an Autism Heroes Award and is a Youth Patron with the charity Ambitious About Autism.
He has just had his book Thinking Club : A Filmstrip Of My Life As A Person With Autism published, available through Amazon.
Alex has a website that is full of information about autism, with videos, resources and an FAQ. Check it out at www.alexlowery.co.uk.