Below is a post written by my good friend Lee Dewsnap. He is an excellent musician and a great guy. If you ever need a music director, pianist or organist then he is your guy.
“Recently, someone suggested I write an article for the magazine. What I didn’t want to do was write some mushy, sentimental article about how wonderful life is, because I cannot truly say I feel that way. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy my life. I have some of the best people in my life a person could ask for. There’s always someone on the end of the phone for a chat. So don’t get me wrong, life is great. It’s hard, but it’s great.
We all look at each other and in our hearts feel a little envious at times. We think ‘I wish I had that’ or ‘life looks easy for them’, when in truth, it’s really quite the opposite. But we at the church all have one big advantage – we have Jesus on our side, watching us and guiding us.
We might not always be able to see the work of God clearly, but I believe he always has a long term plan for everything. As many of you know, my mum died at the age of 40 in 2004. This was horrible for me as a 16 year old. I’ve been asking for years, why? Why did she die so young? And the answer is that I don’t know. But one of the reasons seems very clear. It’s so I’m here sharing this with you today.
Let me explain this as simply as possible. It was my dad who convinced me to go to university in Ealing, which is the main reason I am part of this community. If my mum had been alive still, who knows what might have happened in my life? She may have guided my life in a different direction completely. Instead I went to university here, left my home church St. George’s Owlsmoor, went to St. Mary’s Ealing, which led to my job at Twyford CE High School, went to St. Faith’s Brentford, and then onto the Church of the Ascension where I’ve been for the past 7 years. I still meet up every week with members of St Faith’s for Sunday lunch in my local pub.
What I believe to be the some of the most important things about Christianity are community and fellowship. Worshipping Jesus is all good, but it’s a lot more fun with others than alone, whether it’s one person or many.
I do Evening Prayer daily, and have done every day for over four years now. Sometimes I find just sitting in church with Simon occasionally and doing Evening Prayer with him really makes a difference. We have great discussions and sometimes a laugh while discussing readings. On the flip side, on a Sunday when I go for lunch, I get to discuss a variety of things ranging from Christianity to toilet brushes (don’t ask). The important thing is that we’re together. Whatever I’m feeling at 8:30am on a Sunday, by being with my friends from both churches for six hours, I always feel uplifted by it.
This is something that is really important to me as someone with Asperger’s Syndrome. I really struggle with socialising because of this, but the fellowship of Christianity has really helped me, and after seven years at the Ascension, I am a different person to who I was when I arrived. The last place you would have expected to see me then was in a pub, but now (even while I write this), I’m happily sitting in a pub with members of the Ascension sharing in fellowship not feeling uncomfortable at all.
If community and fellowship is something you think you aren’t brilliant at, there are a lot of opportunities at the Ascension and St Mary’s to take part in things that will help you with this. We have various home groups, the community choir, the Beans and Leaves cafe and of course regular weekly worship at both churches with coffee at the end, which in my opinion, is the best place to start with this. Sometimes just staying for a coffee is all it takes to strike up a conversation with the most interesting people. I always end up talking to someone different every week, so trust me when I say, if I can do this, so can you.
I hope this has helped those of you reading this in some way.
I’m not a private person. If you want to ask me anything about any of what I’ve said here, please do. My Asperger’s makes me seem like I don’t want to be approached, but if you just do it anyway, I won’t push you away, I promise!
God Bless, Lee.”