Find Chandler

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Find Chandler.

I have crossed the chasms of my casual crimes
I have passed the sign at least a thousand times
Waiting for a hand to rescue me
While at any time I could have walked out free
– John Fischer from the songs, “Casual Crimes”

Why does it always seem to take a crisis to bring us closer? I have learned more about my son, Chandler, and myself in this last weekend than I have in years. Part of it might be that a crisis pulls us out of our patterns. Those patterns are probably different for everyone, but for me, it would be a pattern of isolation. I typically hide myself inside the walls of predictability, routine and that catchall: “busy-ness.” Too busy to stop and connect. Too busy to be vulnerable. Too busy to step out of my shoes and into the shoes of another.


I was always Chandler’s personal chauffeur, driving him and his friends where they wanted to go. If I logged the silent hours I spent alone with Chandler in a car, it could probably add up to a year in school. We could have known each other’s deepest thoughts and fears by now if I had been willing to open up mine. I blamed it on Chandler’s disability, but I see now that was just a convenient way of keeping the wall up. He is smarter than I am in lots of areas, and he can communicate just fine, given the time and the effort put forth by the listener. And had I led the way in opening up myself, I know he would have reciprocated as he is doing now.

We all have barriers and comfort zones. Some of us are hunkered down in our bunkers for the long haul. We’re going to wait out the enemy as long as it takes, when all along the enemy is us.

This last weekend it took a total change of environment, constant time together and a therapist to get me out. Is all that necessary? Will I always require that? No, not if I can start stepping out on my own. How hard is that? You stand up, step over the barrier and connect to something important to the other person.

Last night we talked with Chandler over the phone. Well … Marti talked with Chandler and then handed me the phone, “Here, your father wants to talk to you.” I hate it when she does that. Maybe I don’t want to talk to him right then. Maybe I wasn’t expecting this call and I’m into something else in my mind. Maybe I’m neatly ensconced in my bunker and just don’t want to come out. I have no choice. She’s handing me the phone and Chandler just heard that I want to talk to him. So I start talking about the Catch and what I’ve been writing about our experience together and how so many people are appreciating that, and Marti points out that he’s not really interested in that. He doesn’t read the Catch; he can’t use the Internet; he doesn’t know who these people are; and then she reminds me of our horseback ride together, and I start talking about how much fun that was, and what happened when the lightning struck, and suddenly Chandler is engaged. I started by talking about something I wanted to talk about, and then, with Marti’s help, I connected to something he wanted to talk about. How hard was that? It wasn’t really hard at all; it just involved, once again (how many times do I have to say it?) putting myself in his shoes instead of staying in my own.

What would mean something to the other person? Talk about that. What you want to talk about is only what you want to talk about. What they want to talk about is a connection. Let’s connect.

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8 Responses to Find Chandler

  1. KaT H. says:

    I am SUPER impressed with YOUR growth in all this John! Yes, “Chandler” is found, but it seems as though you were a bit lost in your own thoughts and not spending “quality dad time” with your son! Kudos to you for reaching out to Chandler and bringing him to let him know you, and visa-versa! 😀 Good job, dad!

  2. Mark Seguin says:

    If I may suggest a few book that have greatly helped me, by understanding myself better and the other types of personalty types: Dr. Robert Rohm’s the DISC Method and the 5 Love languages

  3. Gitta says:

    Again thank you for your intimate sharing. The latest Catch devotions continue to be amazing.
    I think many of us see ourselves [too well] in your journey with Chandler. Praise for your
    WILLINGNESS to listen & connect. Praise for the healing & JOY the Lord has done–as a result
    in all your lives. I can see the need to be open to how God would use me in the healing
    process of my own [sometimes painful] relationships– willing myself to listen with an open heart…
    And praise for the power of prayer.
    “The LORD… Master of Breakthroughs” [2 Samuel 5:20]

  4. The story is told about a distraught man who discovered that his teenage daughter had been struggling with bulimia for almost a year. During this time, he hadn’t realized how his daughter would disappear after meal times to the bathroom for a prolonged amount of time. He hadn’t noticed that his daughter had grown withdrawn and quiet. But what upset him the most was that he was a medical professional, well-versed in eating disorders: “She is my own daughter! How can it be that I didn’t know?”

    So many people in this world suffer in silence, and sometimes, those people are living in our own homes.

    Among the blessings and curses contained in God’s covenant with Israel, it is written in Deuteronomy 28:29: “[If you do not obey the Lord your God]… At midday you will grope about like a blind person in the dark. You will be unsuccessful in everything you do; day after day you will be oppressed and robbed, with no one to rescue you.”

    The question arises: If the individual is blind, why does it matter whether it is midday or night? For the blind person, it is always dark!

    One biblical scholar explained how this verse confused him until he came across a blind man walking with a torch at night. The scholar asked him, “My son, what good is a torch to you if you cannot see?” The blind man responded, “With the torch, I still cannot see. However, other people can see me, and when they do, they look out for me and make sure that I don’t get into harm’s way.”

    Now the scholar could understand the verse. It’s one thing not to be able to see. In this case, it figuratively describes people’s state when they are confused or blinded to the truth. They can’t see what’s good for them or what’s bad for them. They are at great risk for harming themselves, and they suffer in the pain of not knowing what to do with their lives or how to lead joyful, meaningful lives. However, what is even worse is not being seen. Like a blind man at midday, there are those who suffer in broad daylight, but whose pain remains unseen.

    Whether it is the thousands of nameless victims of terror across the world, a colleague at our workplace, or even members of our own family, we have to look out to see what is not easily seen. We have to hear the cries that are not easily heard. It might be God’s decision for a person to suffer, but it is still our duty to alleviate the suffering. Look deeper, listen more intently, and see beyond the surface. We can be the one to act and save a hurting soul.

    Excerpted from “Holy Land Moments – See the Pain of Others”
    http://www.holylandmoments.org/devotionals/see-the-pain-of-others

  5. Martha Nelson says:

    Oh, John!! Did you ever connect with me just now! I need to connect more with my husband and many times I don’t really listen to what he needs and wants. I am an incredibly stubborn person. I am teachable and when shown in factual ways I am wrong, I will relinquish my stand. I will never back down when the subject is Eternal, Irreversible Salvation by GRACE! That I have studied Biblically for years and the Lord has engraved His name in my DNA and my name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life in the blood of Jesus and it can never be erased! Just yesterday, in a discussion about another ‘religion’, my husband told me I am a zealot. He seems to think this is a bad thing but the word means “enthusiastic”! I didn’t feel that it was the right time to give the definition so I just remained quiet. The thing he said that was so sad to me was, “I know you know way more than I do about the Bible, but I know more about religions!” He shortly after this changed the subject. This was a God thing since as he was telling me how wrong I was I was praying, “Father God, in the name of Jesus with the power of Your Holy Spirit, Help!” One thing I know I need the Lord’s help with is just listening to him completely before I put in my ‘2 cents worth’. Thank you for being venerable. We all tend to crawl into our shell when things get intense or when we need “normal”. Whatever THAT is! Lord bless you and yours! Martha

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    • jwfisch says:

      Find what is good about what he’s saying and laud him for that. There is something good about knowing a lot about religions. You can find out what is unique about Christianity. That he will have to find out himself. You are not out to win an argument. This is not about right and wrong. Besides the world is not wrong as much as it is lost. The most important thing is helping people find Jesus, not being right.

  6. Peter Leenheer says:

    To look forward to crisis seems absurd, yet it seems to me it is wise to do that. No not to just create trouble but to do so to create discussion. No, not just play devil’s advocate but to truly confront people with issues that require some sort of initiative and change of attitude. The best way to do that it seems to me is to listen, and then ask tough questions of the other person(s). Questions only they can answer not questions you already have an answer for in your mind. If we don’t ask each other tough questions, we don’t look inward and aren’t confronted with what perhaps needs to change. If you ask them tough questions they come back and ask you tough questions as well. Do not sit in judgment of the answers given, just follow it up with another tough question or just let it be.

    If we don’t do this, and most of us don’t, then the crisis will keep coming. I have begun to look forward to crisis, and pray to God that he will help good come out of it. Sad to say it sometimes takes a barrage of crisis to actually get some where, but perseverance in prayer as well as initiating discussion on a non confrontational level can be of incredible benefit.

    A summer employee of mine had lost her mother to cancer at age 19, and came to work for me in May to earn money but more so to be in this city because her Dad was on his death bed. He died in the middle of June. She is 24 years of age. What a huge crisis in her life. The two of us worked together so there was lots of time to talk about her grief. My temptation was to preach but the Holy Spirit led me to ask tough questions. She welcomed them because most friends and acquaintences avoided talking about her grief altogether.

    I realized that love listens and does not preach. Love probes for the source of pain in order to come along side not to give instruction. When the young lady went back to school she wrote me a note that stated that the tough questions made her turn back to God rather than assuming he had abandoned her. It gave her back her life. I was very surprised how good the outcome was for her, because my tendency is to preach because “I know it all”, if you get my meaning.

    John, God wants all of your heart, not just part of it. Finding out where Chandler is at has done your heart good and his also. God’s heart swells with love as He sees you two connect in this way, by Dad walking a mile in Chandler’s shoes (boots). I too have learned this lesson.

    It always amazes me what God finds in my heart that needs purging. My arrogance makes me think that I am clean, but my God tells me we still have work to do. Bring it on Lord, if it takes a crisis.

  7. Didn’t get to read The Catch yesterday. I’m so glad things are opening up.

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