I love my church. I love the people in my church.

Lately, though, I have been struggling with some sensory issues there.

Every Sunday, before service, the sanctuary is open for prayer. The lights are dimmed and music is played. I have long enjoyed this special time to prepare myself for service, my heart to receive the Word God has for me and my mind to understand. I do some warfare as well. It is an important time for me.

However, for the past three weeks, the setting for the volume of the music played during prayer has changed. It is loud – very loud. Where before you could whisper and be heard, now you have to talk loud. This means that people who come in and say hello are talking louder than normal – which is distracting. The music is at an unbearable level which is distracting and uncomfortable – physically painful.

I don’t talk during prayer, but if I have to communicate with my husband, such as asking him to let me out of the aisle so I can walk around while praying, is nearly impossible without being completely disruptive. The mood, for me at least, is completely changed. I don’t have the peacefulness that I did before. Now I am battling the physical pain and the distraction of music that is blaring, stinging my ears and setting off a series of electrical bursts throughout my nervous system.

So, I go outside to pray. I sit on the steps behind the church, alone. I know I am never alone because Jesus is with me, but I do miss the opportunity to pray with my brothers and sisters in the sanctuary as we prepare for service.

The thing is, no one else seems to notice.

My husband did say that the music is loud. He confirmed that it is louder than it has been. The first week I went outside to pray. My husband said something last week and they lowered the volume, but this week it was loud again. I had to go outside again to pray.

I don’t want to say anything again because I don’t want to bother anyone. The last thing I want to do is be a bother. My husband understands.

So, instead of being able to pray in the sanctuary with everyone else, I just go outside alone. It makes me sad because I really miss praying inside. I just wish they could lower the volume during prayer time. But it isn’t my place to ask for such things. It is my place to adapt in the ways I know how to adapt, especially if I am the only one who is bothered by the loud, loud volume.

I just feel bad, but I won’t allow anything to keep me from praying. I won’t allow anything to keep me from getting the most I can from each service, each message, each lesson.

This is just one more adaptation for me to exist in a neuro-typical world. I am the alien, I have to make the adjustments, the adaptations, the accommodations. I can’t bother people with my alien idosyncricies.