Sunday, June 13, 2010

Silence

Silence.

This is all I hear. Ok, well…that, the humming of our air conditioner and rhythmic breathing of my baby.

Everyone in my house is asleep. The rare and highly coveted Sunday afternoon nap has fallen upon my family. [Or at least MOST of us…I am obviously not participating.]

I have successfully prepped vegetables for dinner and all the dishes and the laundry have already been done. I feel like I should do something…but I have nothing pressing that needs to be accomplished.

As I sit here, trying hard to relax, I am realizing how uncomfortable the silence is for me. I don’t know how to rest. I have grown so unfamiliar with the practice of sitting down in quiet and just being, that the quiet has become a stranger to me, and as she and I sit here together, our closeness feels awkward.

“Be still and know that I am God.” – Psalm 46:10

I know how to serve and join Him in His work.
I know how to study and gain knowledge of Him.
I know how to stand and praise Him.

But I am so unaccustomed to being still.
[You’ll notice, I had to DO something, so here I am writing…]

I feel guilty for relaxing. I struggle with a sense of urgency – even when there are no pressing obligations to be cared for. And consequently, rather than enjoying the rare quiet moments I have, I wrestle in my mind with the endless mountain of miniscule tasks I’ve yet to accomplish. I know it will never dwindle much. With each objective I check off my list a new one appears shortly thereafter to replace it.

Is our society to blame for this deep rooted restlessness? Have I been taught to be busy or acquired a taste for undue stress? Is it my surroundings? Is it because I have 3 young children and silence is simply foreign to me? Is it sin? Am I afraid to be quiet and pause because I don’t want to listen; to let my mind consider more important and invasive thoughts than the usual, “What’s for dinner?” or “Who is crying?” Is it because of fear? Am I afraid of being alone? Am I so dependant on others that apart from being busy in some social way, I am at a loss for my identity?

I honestly don’t know. I assume it’s likely a combination of all of the above…since each seems to have a valid argument. I do live in a culture driven by speed and fed by constant movement and noise. This is a season in my life when I have 3 children almost entirely dependant on my constant attention and care. I don’t often take the time to wrestle with difficult thoughts. When I pray, it’s often short and sweet…and generally interrupted by a child who needs their bottom wiped [or something equally as glamorous]. I hate feeling alone. I even resent that my husband is napping along with the children, rather than spending time with me.

Pause.

*Ding*

[That’s the sound I make in my mind when I suddenly realize something. It’s weird, I know.]

I think I just determined that sin was definitely a factor in my dislike of this quiet.

I’m resentful and selfish. I don’t want to pause long enough to acknowledge it, or sit quietly enough to hear that still small voice of conviction pierce through the humming of the air conditioner. I’d rather busy myself with some project I never get to do because my children consume all my attention – yet at the same time, I have no energy to start a project, I’d rather take a nap. Unfortunately, I cannot because I have believed the lie our culture feeds us that I must constantly be busy, or else fail for lack of having "done" enough.

So, even if it is “all of the above”…it starts with me, the decisions I make, the things I choose to believe and where I place my trust and my priorities.

I am amazed that everyone is still sound asleep.

I may head out to sit quietly on the porch – and do nothing, except consider His love. I think, with practice, I may one day grow fond of this “being still”. Maybe she and I will grow to be more than passing strangers or brief acquaintances; perhaps someday we will be great friends.

1 comment:

  1. Bernadette DesChampsJuly 3, 2010 at 3:01 AM

    Stillness is both peaceful and productive. Just as the Lord does not judge by outward appearance, neither should we when it comes to the necessary 'rests' in life. Often a body at rest can mean a mind fully active. It is a shame that our culture has projected this priority of "outward appearance" upon our lives in such a way that we not only feel the need to always "look busy" to others, but we even impose it upon our own solitude.

    In a musical score, rests are not just a time to do nothing, they provide dynamics, context, time to savor what has come before, and to anticipate what will follow. They add texture and rhythm. Our lives will sing most beautifully if allowed the same. Being still is a glory, not a guilt. Our enemy is always trying to mess up the music!

    I do pray that you and "stillness" will become great friends. It is good to linger with the Lord...even to just curl up on His lap and take a nap.

    ReplyDelete

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