Tuesday, September 30, 2014

To Peace and Quiet

Dear Elusive Silence,

No, I'm not talking to those creepy Doctor Who villains.  (And since you forget them when you look away, could one actually write a letter to them?  Discuss.)

I'm talking to you, Peace and Quiet.  Silence.  A still room, the ticking of a cuckoo clock, the whoosh of an air conditioner.  Outside sounds trickling in: someone mowing, a car cruising by, or a far-off bird warble.  The sounds I hear when I sit in my living room and just. stop. going. for. one. second.

I am (obviously) not talking about the excited chatter of a new Kindergartener, the intriguing commentary of a spouse, the phone call from a good friend, or even the happy babble of a two month-old. These are all beautiful and enriching--but ultimately distracting--sounds.

I am certainly not talking about the drone of my favorite television shows, the chime of text messages, or even the clatter of my typing on the keyboard.  I'm not even talking about the mostly noiseless things--interesting websites, good books, a tasty meal, a precious middle-of-the-night infant feeding session--that occupy the spaces in my life.

I am talking to the Quiet that comes when I cease my strivings, seek the Lord, and just exist.  You scare me, Silence.  Even as an introvert, I do not want to completely enter in, Solitude.  You are where God does deep work, where souls are laid bare, where one must learn to surrender completely.  You are far more terrifying than any science-fiction creature could ever be.

Even Bible readings and structured prayer can be turned into a distraction or a defense mechanism; but you, Silence, you strip away places to hide.  So with the encouragement of passages like 1 Kings 19 and Mark 1, with the guidance of books such as Ruth Haley Barton's An Invitation to Solitude and Silence and Richard Foster's Celebration of Discipline, with the support of family & friends and a multitude of saints who have gone before me, I will enter in.  I will embrace you, Silence, and trust that God is going to meet me.

With hopeful trepidation,
A Quiet Pilgrim