The collective rooms were silent – the three connected by zoom over 3 states. If our arms were long enough we could form a human chain starting in Central Missouri reach up to Nebraska and then south west to Colorado. That picture gives me peace – knowing that I am within a days driving distance of each of my favorite people – emphasis – days – not hours or minutes. I’m incredibly grateful for technology that allows us the opportunity to sit together for an hour a week and get caught up on life happenings, the good, the bad and the ugly. It just so happens that on this particular day… the news shared fell heavily into the bad and somewhat ugly category.
If you have or had young children you are very aware of the power of a $4 box of cartoon embossed band aids or a Mc Donalds happy meal. A small scrape on a knee or an even heavier gushing wound – when covered by a brightly colored band aid – makes it All Better. A hard day at school or disappointing little league game can make a dramatic turn with a quick run though the drive through for chicken nuggets, fries and and orange drink – don’t forget the prize. The mood shifts for your child which shifts the very air the rest of the family breaths and life feels back on track. I’m so thankful for those boxes of pink band aids and greasy cheeseburgers. Powerful tools in the hands of weary parents.
The news shared on our most recent connect time though – would not be fixed by a colorful band aid or a happy meal. The challenges faced by my young adult ‘children’ involved answers that required medical specialists, surgery, second opinions, cancelling credit cards, sitting in heart ache…… and there was not one thing I could do to fix it.
There is an important transition that occurs in a parents journey that allows the silence to sit. As a fixer, natural encourager ( there is always a bright side – right?) this has been one of the hardest yet most rewarding skills I have learned. Ok – lets be honest – learn ING. My gut instinct when my children are facing challenges are to rush in to sharing solutions not to sit with the silence. The silence of unknown solutions. The silence of pain that will take days sometimes years to fade. The silence of recognizing real consequences that come from real choices.
It is uncomfortable.
It can cause discouragement.
And it is absolutely necessary.
Recently on a beautiful Friday afternoon I found myself enjoying the spring weather with five of my neighbors. Our chairs were overturned 5 gallon buckets and our drinks were cold and refreshing. Stories were shared about past life experiences and future plans. As time passed we turned to topics of our children, their current life status and our role as parents. We confessed our desires and struggles to want to continue to micro manage their young adult lives. If they would just listen to us they would certainly be protected from the pain that this world most certainly can give.
As we shared our situations and sought advice we shifted out thoughts to our own early days of transitioning into adult hood. We recalled days of poor financial choices, crazy career moves others didn’t understand, missed opportunities. We laughed as we connected knowing each of us had some proverbial skeletons in our closet. And then …. then the turn. The shift from our struggles and hard times to the ways we had each seen God provide in them. In our own seasons of silence.
One friend shared stories of generosity from family and friends in the early years of their marriage. Another recalled how important it was to feel the consequences of a bad decision. It brought much needed wisdom that still impacts their life today. Over and over again we saw God. We saw his goodness, his provision, his unconditional love. That can only be seen and felt…
In the Silence.
When I rush in to fix, I fill the space where God wants to meet my loved one. I can take away the opportunity for them to see His goodness, his provision and his unconditional love. The things that will fill that space when we sit in it long enough to turn our eyes and hearts to see it. The space that allows God’s best answers not mine.
I reached out to one of my children via a text late last night – “Hey – how are you doing?”. The response came long after I had fallen asleep. I drifted off in my own silence. No answers about their well being but I rested in peace. God is teaching me to rest in the silence, His peace despite the still unanswered questions in my life and those of the people I love most. I am finding the contentment that reflects the encouragement of the writer of Psalm 62:5.
“Find Rest o my soul in God alone, my hope comes from Him.”
It is real, it is lasting, it is true.
Her response was the first thing I read this morning,
“Hey mom, much better!” Followed by the provisions God had provided to some of her hard questions. Answers that came in the middle….
of the Silence.