We live in a world of activities. School, sports, community events, social occasions and even church. Activities are everywhere.
In our house when you get to 1st grade you get to choose 2 activities. A School/Sport Activity and A Church Activity.
Our son’s chosen church activity is attending on Wednesday nights.
We are absolutely thrilled that he wants to do this but last year wasn’t exactly fun. We weren’t always sure that he would make it out of the house to the church. His difficult mind blocked us in and held us back on more than one occasion.
You see, when our son gets overwhelmed in the deep pit of logic vs. emotion vs. social norms he retreats. His mind needs a break.
In his difficult mind lies logic, emotion, hunger, pain, social norms, everything. The difficult part is that he can only work through one of those things at a time and when he is in that mode he only sees the world through that lens.
For instance, if he is hungry, he is hungry. He can’t think our interact with homework, siblings, parents, chores or even his favorite sport. He is just hungry. Until his hunger is satisfied he can not function.
Hunger is the easiest one to manage. But what if he is caught in an emotion, say anger, and everything is about anger? Figuring out why there is anger and how to solve the problem that is making him angry is not generally a quick fix. But his difficult brain is locked in. We can’t move on until we move through it.
As you and I know life is unpredictable. I don’t know when hunger, or fear, or pain, or emotions, or logic or an unknown social situation will strike. And if it happens right before we need to go to Wednesday night church he might not be willing or even able to go.
When he is forced to go, rage and anger and violence can rear their ugly head. When his hang up is ignored we are at a total halt, a complete stand still.
When dealt with we can move on, but sometimes “dealing” takes a serious time commitment which isn’t always convenient.
So how do we get past the difficult mind so he can engage in the one church activity he really wants to attend, at least he says he wants to when he’s able to think clearly?
He has to feel safe and included. He has to see the logical value in walking through his momentary right now struggle to get to that activity.
I am so thankful for a creative leader who suggested we give him a job. He arrives early every Wednesday night and sets up the prize table. Then, he gets to sit in a special chair by the sound board. Then, he gets to hand out prizes.
This job is a concrete black and white moment. In his mind no one else can do this job so he HAS to be there. And because he HAS to be there he is willing to walk through whatever his right now struggle is so we can walk out the door.
“Hope and sorrow in it all there’s rescue and there’s not.”
There’s Rescue: Creative leading has provided a point of stability and invitation for our son to be able to engage with the church. I am so thankful for this.
There’s Not: There are so many activities in life. Not every single activity can be catered for his difficult mind. What happens when we don’t have creative leaders or flexible activities or enough time to deal with the unpredictable?
We cross each bridge when we come to it. Today, we are thankful and in awe that our son knows every book of the Bible, the 10 commandments and is making a difficult choice every week to leave home and learn more.