Yesterday seemed exceedingly long and stressful for me. We have so many different projects at different levels going on that require my attention and focus. On top of that our ministry is on the verge of announcing a new project that will more than likely require the rest of my productive life to bring to fruition.

So as I drove home, I could not get my mind to slip out of “work mode.” All these thoughts were jockeying for position in my head.

I just felt overwhelmed, and slightly out-of-control. 

You’ve been there haven’t you? Exhausted and weary, but unable to relax.

Just the toll of being a parent of a child with special needs is by itself grueling, tiring, and frustratingly difficult.

You feel like your whole day is just reactive. I describe it as being the ball inside an old fashioned pinball machine. You just bounce from one post or barrier to the next with little time to plan or think.  You just roll through the day bracing for impact.

Our son with cerebral palsy and autism definitely makes our life interesting. In the evenings, to help my wife, I handle feeding Jon Alex his supper, and then we are off to swing in his platform swing in his bedroom.

He loves that swing. We usually swing for around 45 minutes before his nightly bath.

It’s Dad’s time. We swing, I sing. Jon Alex is non-verbal. Doesn’t matter what I sing, he just craves that time and listening to me. On a typical night, I’ll sing a few children’s classics, some vintage U2 and other 1980s hits, a couple of church songs, and several made up goofy songs of ours. 

it’s not what we do together as a dad. It’s that I intentionally set aside a time where I am conveying that nothing else in the world matters right now but giving him my undivided attention, my whole heart, and my sole focus. Check your smartphone at the door.

My wife can’t stand to listen to the singing because I never remember the actual lyrics and more or less make it up as I go.

Last night Jon Alex didn’t want to swing. He hasn’t slept this week much at all and it finally had caught up with him. He just wanted to go straight to “night-night” after supper.

For the rest of the evening I was restless, agitated, and just out-of-sorts.

All of a sudden I realized why. In the beginning that swing time was supposed to be part of Jon Alex’s therapy. 

But now I realized it had instead become my therapy. That was my sanctuary. This was where my mind slipped out of work mode, I forgot all about my cares and concerns, and focused on what really mattered. This is where I feel closest to God and his purpose for my life.

I have come to crave and need those moments with him and that bedroom swing far more than Jon Alex does. I had missed my therapy.

Everyone needs to find their sanctuary. People find their sanctuary in many different forms. Television, books, comfort food, money, jobs, Facebook or the internet. Then they wonder why they feel so empty and so far from the presence of God.

I have found my sanctuary, my place where God hangs out and restores my soul, renews my mind, and reminds me of my purpose. 

Turns out it’s just down the hall.