The Years of Quietness (Coming to Grips with Asperger’s Syndrome)

26 Aug

Isaiah 30:15:  “For thus saith the Lord GOD,  the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not.”

The Lord used quietness to teach me confidence in Him, although I did not know it at the time. 

Our son, our only child, was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome/high functioning autism at the age of four.  He was a blur of energy and activity in those years and I didn’t lack for exercise chasing him around and dealing with his fluctuating emotional extremes. 

What I did lack was the ability to speak with other adults one-on-one for any length of time or for any meaningful purposes. 

I am a “talker” by nature.  I process information by verbally working through it, as any close friend of mine can tell you.  But those years were years of quietness, as far as adult input into my life.

We had joined a playgroup in our neighborhood when Joey was three, but I had noticed soon after joining it that the mothers would congregate in the kitchen of whichever home we visited, while the children would go into the playroom and proceed to squabble with each other.  Joey, being not socially aware, was often the target of aggression by the young  children as they strove to learn social roles.  No one was being wicked—they were just children experimenting with roles as they learned.  But as soon as I figured out how aggressive the children were getting, I stayed in the playroom at playgroup and helped all of them learn to interact in constructive ways.  My heart was hungry to be in the kitchen hearing those adult conversations, but I knew my child, and other children, would be hurt if I left the playroom, so I stayed.  Sometimes another mother would come sit with me.  Sometimes not.   

After Joey’s diagnosis, I found a few friends on-line who were raising children with autism, especially when I began to homeschool Joey and found two on-line support groups, one just for parents of children with Aspergers and the other for parents homeschooling their children with any type of autism.  There were a couple of those gals who were as hungry for adult company as I was and we would stay up until two or three in the morning some nights e-mailing back and forth (in the days before Facebook and texts and other quicker ways of communication).  Those were precious interactions.  We would not just chat about autism, but about being a mom, being a wife, and even about the problems of society and other subjects that had so fascinated me as a single back in college!

And then there was the most precious gift of all.  I was in choir and my choir director was willing to help accommodate me in order to have me sing for her.  In those days, we attended a church where the choir stayed up front for the entire Sunday morning service.  My husband did not always attend that service.  But we always had someone to sit with Joey so I could be up front.  Usually his Sunday school teacher.

Likewise, choir practice was on Wednesday nights and my husband always made sure he was home on time to watch Joey.  Other mothers brought their children to practice from time to time, but I knew I could not do that—it would be too distracting.  And God never put me into a situation where I had to choose, although the choice would have been obvious as a mother.  God was merciful to me—He could by all rights have asked me to give up choir for those years, but He knew how hungry my heart was for adult companionship, even if it was heavily structured in the form of practice!!!  And our practices were filled with good-natured joking, too, so my heart would be full by the end of an hour and a half!  Such blessedness, especially since it was all I had!

I learned in those years that God can work in the deserts of our lives.  We all are made differently.  Not all of us need conversation and interaction as I do.  But all of us encounter deserts, in whatever way they are defined in our lives.  And God is there with us, in the quietness, loving us. 

We may not fully see until years later just how close He is, but He is always there.


3 Responses to “The Years of Quietness (Coming to Grips with Asperger’s Syndrome)”

  1. Josh Savage August 26, 2012 at 9:35 AM #

    My favorite so far!

  2. Joye August 26, 2012 at 2:07 PM #

    Loved this–my favorite as well.

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