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DIY Quiet Day: Let's Take a 2nd

Welcome to Quiet Day!

If you are at Caroline Furnace: You are welcome to spend as long as you like today in prayer, meditation, and solitude. We invite you to walk the trails, sit by the lake, Passage Creek, or the spring, rest at a campfire circle or the steps of St. John’s Chapel, or pray the labyrinth.

If you are at home: We invite you to spend time today in prayer, meditation, and (hopefully) solitude. We invite you to walk your backyard, neighborhood, or nearby park, sit by a calming spot, or rest in a comfortable outdoor space.

During our quiet time today, as we have just finished Autism Awareness Month, we celebrate the gifts that people living with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) bring to our world.

Opening Prayer:

Loving God, Bless today in special ways all the children, adults and families who see the world through the window of autism. May Your Spirit burn bright in them and all who celebrate and honor the richness of our diversity. Grant us, O Lord, the wisdom to see your image reflected in all of our differences, and to recognize the unique gifts we each have to offer. May the doors of ministry in our Church Continue to open wide in welcome to all of God’s family. We ask this in Jesus’ holy name. Amen

Scripture Reading: Psalm 139: 13-14 For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.

Contemplative Reflection:

Peace of Heart Community is a group home community and enrichment program serving young adults in the Jacksonville, FL area. We are located in Palm Valley, FL on a 3.5 acre farm with free-range chickens, 2 goats, a mini-horse and Lily the pot-bellied pig. We serve our community by offering fresh organic produce through selling yearly shares of our harvest. In turn, the community is helping us reach our mission to provide a safe inclusionary experience and bring a more meaningful life to individuals with autism through our enrichment program including: practicing organic gardening seed to harvest techniques, animal care, jujitsu, OCR and core training, pilates, educational opportunities, specialized typing, meal prep and more!

This reflection is written by Amy Groshell, co-founder of Peace of Heart Community. More information may be found at their website

“God is in nature not the noise…” typed Connor, a founding member of POHC’s Enrichment Program. Connor was 17 before he had a means to communicate. Prior to that, he rightly used his body (behavior) to relay his wants, needs and frustrations. It often wasn’t a pretty sight. Each time a young, non-verbal adult is given an iPad with a trained facilitator, the words they type often cut straight to the heart. They speak poetically, not to preach or teach, but to convey. For Connor, what he typed about nature and noise is true not only for him but the testimony of just about every person that steps foot in POHC’s garden.

We all are bogged down by noise and, by noise, I just don’t mean the noise made by people in a crowded room; the noise from relationships are seldom the issue. The 2 most disturbing “noises” appear to be the noise in our own heads and the noise from our smart phones. While these noises aren’t ultimately good or bad, a wise person is quick to learn when these noises are or are not working for them. If either of these types and/or quantity of these noises ushers in peace, keep them. If not, it’s as simple as putting them down or turning them off.

I would propose that turning of the noise coming from a smartphone is easier than silencing the one in our heads! How do we do that? In autism, often times the individual cannot stop their body’s movement in the same way we can ours. Either their bodies run like motors, they are under-active, or they turn to stimulatory behavior (we all do) to soothe themselves. The more I am around these individuals, I realize we are more alike than different. The main difference is they are more truthful! Their bodies can’t build a facade to hide behind as well as I can. For all individuals, the key to silencing the noise in our mind is to shift from the left logical, task-oriented side of our brains to the right, creative, sense-filled side.

The words that Connor typed should resound with all of us. We all need more time in nature. It’s time to shut down the information driven left side of our brains by engaging in creative moments or time outside. We all have Connor to thank for this simple reminder. The next time the noise in your mind is bringing fear, depression, or anxiety, turn it off by heading outdoors. We know a great garden where you can hang out!

Closing Prayer:

Take a slow, deep breath. As you inhale, realize you are receiving God’s Divine Breath as total gift. Exhale slowly. The Spirit of God, she dwells in us all that we may live. Amen.

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