Austin-Lunch

Where to Find That Peaceable Place

It was supposed to be the typical Sunday afternoon lunch with friends—kids on one end of the restaurant table, adults on the other. Except, it wasn’t.

What is it about Sunday mornings? It’s like all of our good intentions get sucked into a vortex of chaos, anger, and tardiness. Sunday mornings support the quip, “Confession is good for the soul.” After 19 years of mothering my son Jon, who suffers from sensory-processing challenges, Tourette’s, anxiety, and other disabilities, I’ve become hyper-aware of the potential chaos that can arise when he’s placed in any given setting. Even at church, Jon regularly endures silent, invisible challenges and constantly being misunderstood; yet he continues to show up and worship, heart and soul.

At the end of service, we gathered with several families for a bite to eat.

Then it began.

Living in Two Worlds

Social get-togethers complicate Jon’s challenges; the noise, difficulty with communication, tic suppression, and inability to understand typical interactions intensify Jon’s differences. He sat by me at lunch. But after a while, his tics and challenges finally took over, exceeding his exhausted resources for coping. I rubbed some helpful oils on his neck as the noise and chatter continued.

I exist in two worlds: in one world, I’m a free-spirited mother of typical children; and in the other, I’m a caregiving mother with more questions than answers. The contrast quiets and humbles my perfectionistic soul, which is constantly trying to find a balance between the two.

We returned home to seek afternoon peace and quiet. My son relished the relief: no one staring, overlooking, judging, dismissing, or pretending to be comfortable in their discomfort. I understand the pretending and apprehension—that was me before I had a different child. Hopefully, the gap between these two worlds will lessen in this life; nonetheless, difference is profoundly distinct and difficult.

The Value of Quietness

In the quietness of that Sunday evening, I wondered if others experience seasons where the chaos of communal commitments becomes less comforting than the quiet of God’s Word speaking to our needy souls. There are days when my heart wishes for yesteryear, when we went to church and worshiped without worry. The fun, friends, laughter, and lingering time never pushed me to my limits; in fact, they fed my soul.

Yet, stretched beyond imagination these many years later, I seek my Savior’s still, quiet voice that reminds me I’m loved, seen, enjoyed, accepted—feelings my son must long for on many days.

How disabled is the human soul! While we may fear moments of quietness with Christ, quietness before Him and His Word can provide touches of healing grace this world cannot provide.

Photo by Tony Hisgett from Birmingham, UK [CC-BY-2.0] via Wikimedia Commons
Photo by Tony Hisgett from Birmingham, UK [CC-BY-2.0] via Wikimedia Commons
I recently read these words of comfort from my dad’s book So You Want to Be Like Christ? May they bring you comfort too.

Open the Word of God in a peaceful place and sit in quietness before Him. Let the random bits of mind-litter blow through your consciousness and wait . . . and read . . . and meditate. In time the Spirit of God will illumine a passage, and it will come to life. . . . Virtually before you know it, the knotty situation that drove you to distraction will unravel. You will discover as you “cease” that your greatest problems start to shrink before Almighty God. . . . He will calm your emotions and relieve your mind. You will discover new direction, freedom from worry, a sense of peace. And like the psalmist you will find Him “a very present help in trouble.”1Charles R. Swindoll, So You Want To Be Like Christ? Eight Essentials to Get You There (Nashville: W Publishing, 2005), 63–64.

Let Me Hear from You

Have you taken time recently to be still, to be quiet? Does the thought of being still and quiet feel a bit scary or uncomfortable?

Then maybe that’s exactly where you need to be.

I used to believe doing more was a must for Christian growth. Now, I’ve learned from my son—who cannot run from or hide his pain—that we can experience profound relief and release when we slow to hear the voice of God as revealed in Scripture. He is speaking to you.

Are you willing to slow down and listen? Let’s talk about that.

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Notes:   [ + ]

1. Charles R. Swindoll, So You Want To Be Like Christ? Eight Essentials to Get You There (Nashville: W Publishing, 2005), 63–64.
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