Today marks the six-month anniversary of my New Year's resolution. A mere solitary notion of change that flickered to life as I hung the newest record of coming days. Oh, I pondered so many changes that need be wrought in my life -- read this, do that, lose this ...
I prayed deeply and God spoke clearly: "Listen."
I sat in silence and wondered the effect of such a simple goal. Would it suffice as an annual determination of pruning for increased productivity? Would it go the way of most every resolve I have ever pledged at the turning of the annual page? Did this amount to a vow of silence? (If so, I KNOW I shall fail miserably!) Hmmmm ...
And so I reached out quietly and took hold of this puzzling idea of paying heed to the sounds around me. Now, six months into this pledge I can honestly say I stand amazed at the alterations this simple little notion has prompted. I never knew so much sound swirled beyond the bubble of my own clamor. There lies a symphony just beyond my breath, and yet I never paused to listen and let it speak to me.
My love of music and the yearning to fill every empty moment with tuneful splendor yielded to quiet moments wherein swirling dust motes captured my notice as they pirouetted to the tabletop. Chatty conversations formerly honed and shaded by my own narrative gave way to slow wending currents that allowed thoughts and ideas to mature naturally without forced conclusions based on my discomfort in possibly not knowing. In short, time slowed down and the volume of the barest moment increased to yield a layer of life I previously trod upon unaware.
In my devotional life I sat with ease for long stretches of time engaged in ponderings and prayer that plumbed the depth of issues I had reflexively assessed, labelled, and efficiently dispatched with a push-button solution (sometimes the solution entailed cramming the unpleasant things further from sight into a cubbyhole in the wall entitled "I'll deal with that later," where it lay dormant, festering with pain). This luxury of pause afforded me a wealth of options that formerly hid in the silence. The scratching of the pen across a fresh journal page portended of much treasure that lay beneath conversant notions; my silence opened wide the door so that my inmost dreams and magical pinings could spread wing and soar, leaving the fears and forebodings to shrink and evaporate in the bright light of life-giving that an honest look reveals. This egress of the "me" formerly pent up in silence challenged the "me" spokeswoman, and clamored for notice. Out of this challenge grew the greatest weight-loss program (mostly heart issues that weigh one down miserably), closet-cleaning regime, and self-improvement course I had ever embarked on come January 1st. I became free to be me ... all of me.
Chatty by nature, curious as well, I had always moved toward life. Grasping, tasting, evaluating, and sorting. Busy, busy, busy. As the years pile up so do the tasks and I never realized how tired I had become from all the busy-ness. The gift of a soft chair, a free moment, and a motionless mouth offered me a much-needed pause to just look around at life and listen to its throbbing song.
I heeded God's call, I took a quiet path ... and I have never been the same.