Psalm 62:1 – My soul waits in silence on God alone; from Him comes my salvation.
Gratitude Day 742
Sometimes the world can be a very noisy place.
There are the obvious culprits. It feels like we’ve had SO MUCH wind this spring. As I pluck away at my keyboard, the howls outside my window are real and noisy and sound like they will never end.
There is the ongoing rhetoric about so many things: inflation, gas prices, interest rates, a resurgence of COVID-19, a leaked Supreme Court brief, on and on and on.
Noise infiltrates every part of our lives, if we allow it. Let it. Give it permission. Noise that too often allows the loudest voice to have the last word rather than the voice that feels the most reasonable or well-thought-out.
Some noise makes our hearts break. Literally. The thousands of civilians targeted in Ukraine? Beyond my understanding. Yes, there are times when it is hard to believe that God is part of this mess where people have lost literally everything: loved ones, homes, jobs, every resource they had. These are the stories that need more noise but the same ones we tire of too quickly.
Yesterday morning, I was standing on our beautiful front porch stretching after a run. It had been so windy while I plodded down the road. Amazingly, the gusts quieted down for just a minute while I caught my breath and stretch my quads. Four cardinals scooted through the yard, carrying on a conversation with each other. I would have LOVED to know what they were chatting about. Where to build a nest? What happened to so-and-so and why wasn’t he or she out and about this morning? Do you know where the best food is today? Or maybe they were simply singing their favorite song to each other.
I am a person who likes information. I read and I listen. And I try to sort through it all. But sometimes? My soul just needs quiet.
Our household is looking a little different these days. On Saturday, I was home for two hours. ALL. BY. MYSELF. It had been a while since this has happened. It was beautiful. Quiet. Wonderful. I didn’t know what to do first. I did not turn on a podcast or played background music. The television stayed off and I waited for the afternoon train to disrupt the quietness, which is so much more refreshing than another round of opinions that are only begging for our attention.
The pursuit of quiet is always a good endeavor. It is a soundtrack that too often we forget to take for a spin. We try so hard to fill every little bit of space with noise when what our hearts and minds desperately need is simply nothing. Nothing at all.
Yes, I realize that for some, there is too much quiet. May I remind us that there is a difference between “quiet” and “silence?” Quiet is what we need when the world feels too full, too loud, too noisy and too bold.
There is greatness in being still. Thinking of nothing. Closing our eyes and letting our imaginations create a scene they want rather than our eyes. Or there can be nothing at all but black. And this is good.
At worship on Sunday, one grandma told me she had practiced with her three-year-old grandson how to whisper on the way to church. When I invited him up for the children’s message, his responses were spoken very quietly. He whispered, just like he had been coached by his grandma, bless her heart. He was not going to fail the whispering lesson that had been carefully crafted in the car.
Countless times, people have told me that they wish God would just make their next decision so very clear to them. They want God to shout to them what to do. People yearn for a clear and direct direction from God, spoken loud enough that they cannot miss it.
But this is rarely who God operates. We see throughout scripture that when God wants to get our attention, rarely does God shout. Or yell. No, more often, God whispers or speaks very quietly. A response that is almost difficult to hear. Sometimes, God chooses not to speak at all and waits for us to make our own decision. While we think we want God’s answer, maybe God is smart enough to realize that we cannot handle it.
What would happen if we allowed ourselves to have lives with less noise in them? To find beauty in the quiet. We would hear things that seem almost foreign to us: birds poetically cooing with each other and the squirrels rustling through the grass. The dripping faucet and the neighbor’s dog. Yes, the noisy wind could dial it down a notch so I can hear myself hum. But even between the wind gusts, there is quiet.
Quiet can be so very good. When we allow ourselves space to live with it and enjoy it. Let’s find some quiet this week and let it be oh, so beautiful.
For the beauty of quiet, I am grateful.
Holy God – Quiet my heart and soul. And let it be satisfied with less action and more being. Help me allow myself to love the beauty of quiet. May I even find You in the quiet moments I grant myself. Amen.
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