I have stood in a silent place and listened.
I have sat in the shade of a mighty wing and rested.
I have danced in a sweet meadow with no one to see me but God.
I have lived quietly . . .
And found it nourishing, satisfying, and, above all, blessed.
* * * * *
As a child, I loved those cozy books with glimpses down a rabbit warren or peeks behind the walls into a mouse house. I pored over each heavily-detailed page depicting life among a mouse family dressed in period togs, seated by a warm fire, reading a story to sleepy babes, while sipping bedtime beverages from floral-sprigged china. The picture of bliss: Home Sweet Home.
While I love a robust adventure or a romantic saga, a cottage-cozy tale replete with tasty meals, tufted ottomans (why isn’t it ottomen?), and a tumbling garden always gets my vote. I have a burgeoning collection of “bedtime reads” that coddle and comfort before I drift off to sleep. Finding such joy in the quiet spaces of my day sustains me and breeds contentment.
Once upon a time, I sought, sought, sought fulfillment through events, acquisitions, and goals. I worked hard at being, doing, and achieving. The “rewards” flowed steady, but I was often too tired or overbooked to enjoy the sweet fruits of the sweaty labor. I craved rest but had a hard time scheduling for it. I “collapsed” now and again, naming it rest. In due time, I would drag my still-crumpled and weary body back onto life’s treadmill and plod along.
Somewhere along life’s path I found tiny moments to steal away and hide from the taskmaster I called life. I felt guilty as I soaked in a tub without an instruction book clasped in my damp hands. Guilt whispered harshly when I lay down and cuddled a child in the shadow of a billowing laundry basket. In fact, guilt hissed at me so often and from so many places that I began to just ignore it like the distant hum of a neighbor’s leaf blower. “It will pass,” I assured myself as I stopped up my ears with laughter and celebration in a tiny moment spent tickling a beloved tummy. These random moments of pure fun or sweet quiet began knitting together to form a shawl of beauty and warmth to wrap round me as I rambled through the busy days as wife/mommy/daughter/sister/friend. Little pearls of wisdom and joy threaded through the fabric of my daily mantle adorning, as well as, strengthening its fiber. Peace and contentment grew in the shadow of these loving, nurturing moments woven by and through and around me.
I have no idea when I first noticed that I could no longer hear guilt’s guttural grumble; nor do I wish to retrace my steps to find such an unwelcome companion. Instead, I greet each day with a cuppa tea and a quiet time, fresh and ready for joy to meet me. Some days I read, others I write, and often I simply gaze in wonder at the freshly-sprung day and all its blossoming beauty. One need only pause and look to find once barren twigs come to life with floral frosting or a simply threaded web hosting a dewy dressing rivaling a Tiffany display. Life stores unmatched artistry in the quiet corners of our life. We need only open our eyes as we rest our hands and our mouth. This wondrous cape of life and love wraps me up in readiness for whatever I may encounter as I sojourn on this earth. I may keep my shawl closely pulled on those chilly morns, and later pillow it behind my head on a warm bed of grass beckoning me to cloud gaze. I used to run through the day chasing bossy To Do’s and anxious checklists, but now I step softly and listen, for there is so much to be found in a quiet time.
And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.
1 Kings 19:11-12