[bl]I[/bl]t’s quiet in my house. So quiet. The children are sleeping, Mark is snowplowing and I am sitting in bed just listening to the silence. It’s almost unsettling. Because rare is the moment I actually hear nothing. I don’t even know what to do! I’m tempted to make a late night snack and relish in the moment of eating something yummy without having to share. I’m tempted to tune out and watch River Cottage, a BBC TV show that Mark and I enjoy together. I’m tempted to pick up a book and get lost in someone else’s story. All options sound wonderfully exciting to Miss I’m Rarely Alone.
But I don’t want to move. Because if I move, I’ll make noise and then it won’t be quiet anymore. So I just sit. And try to breath in the quiet.
I notice that my mind is silently loud. How do I stop that? How do I clear my mind so I can enjoy this moment? Enjoy it without thinking through everything I need to do this week. Enjoy it without worrying about Mark on the snowy dark roads tonight. Enjoy it without wondering when a child will wake and crawl into bed with me. My mind is gifted at interrupting, leaping from one thought to the next. But does it know how to be still? Does it know how to really focus?
And then there’s my eyes. They are heavy. I’m fighting really hard my body’s instinct to sleep when there’s nothing stimulating it. In the quiet dark, all I know how to do is sleep. But do I really know how to rest? I desperately want to hold onto this moment and listen. But I can’t. I literally fall asleep and its lost.
When I wake the next morning I know.
I know that rather than doing without, my Lenten practice needs to be about embracing more. Embracing more of Jesus by being still and listening in the quiet.
And in the silence I fully expect to meet God. To hear him. To listen more clearly to what he is calling me to. To see in the quiet dark the cross, and how my life is shaped by it. For in this image driven, fast paced, always reachable, technology obsessed society, it’s really hard to hear.
In order to steal moments of silence I will have to do without normal activities and habits of time. And what I say no to may be different each day. I anticipate having to give up some sleep, snuggle time with Mark, a meal, Facebook, cleaning – whatever it is I normally choose to do when I have a few moments to spare.
I’m going to start with 15 consecutive minutes a day of silence, increasing that time two minutes every week during Lent, reaching 27 minutes (funny, huh Mark?). I’m also going to ask my family to join me.
Whatever your practice of Lent looks like, may you consider how it connects you with the death and resurrection of Jesus. As we do without and embrace more, may we see the cross for what it is – not something that only defines the life of Jesus. But something that defines the life of all those who follow him.
And as you begin this week, be thankful. Try to notice all the little and big things that are gifts from God. Things that help you endure. Things that reveal the Light. Things that are hard, but good. Things that you take for granted. Things you hope will never go away. Things you hope go away, but for now they are shaping you. Continually give thanks in all things and let it be praise to God.
#46. A family who dreams
#47. Fresh snow
#48. A hard working husband
#49. A girl who just walks in
#50. Coffee with a neighbor
#51. A huge pile of laundry on my floor that is not my own
#52. Date night
#53. Worship on the couch
#54. Quiet moments that teach me
#55. Children doing chores
#56. Four generations talking about pie
#57. Positive test results
#58. My love for life that makes me cling and even fear
#59. Friends who let us share in their journey
#60. A holiday that helps us remember and mark defining moments