Last year during Lent the children and I chose to embrace a little bit of silence each day. To listen for God. To hear things we don’t normally hear. And in order to make time for silence, we had to stop, give up what we were doing in those moments. Remembering today the gift it gave us…
In the quiet we’ve been sitting. Together in the same room, no talking, simply being. Some close their eyes, some keep them open, and at different times we look at the wooden cross hung on our mantel.
Even Tessa participates, though her three-year old energy is bursting through the silence wanting so badly to speak or move. Fifteen minutes must be longer in silence than in activity. For it feels like more than just a moment in our day.
Day one, the children notice what they must leave in order to join the quiet – the computer, a snack, a book.
When you say yes to something, you’re always saying no to something else.
Day two, we get distracted by loved ones laboring in love, blessing our home with the smells of Ugandan cooking and clean floors and windows. We forget to be quiet.
So before bed, we turn the lights out and together we approach Jesus in silence. Five minutes into this new way of being, Luke finds me in the dark and lays his head on my chest to rest. I draw him near and soak him up because he’s not my cuddle one.
Five more minutes pass and Connor – the one who wrestles in his mind — whispers that his “bad thoughts” are haunting him again. It doesn’t surprise me. These thoughts often lurk in the dark. So now I draw him close too, which feels natural because he is the cuddle one.
When the fifteen minutes is over, Luke breaks the silence.
Your heartbeat makes me feel loved and safe.
I can barely move. The one who is 10, the one who does not emote is sharing his feelings with me, with all of us.
I remind him that my heartbeat was the only sound he heard for nine months when God formed him inside me. He smiles. Then turns to his younger brother who adores him.
Connor, you know how mom’s heartbeat makes you feel loved and safe? As if it’s a well known truth they share. Well, when you listen to it try to remember a good memory from a long time ago. And lock it in your mind so when your bad thoughts come you can think of that memory instead.
I hardly know what to say. It’s only day two and Jesus has entered into our silence.
As if nothing just happened, Luke leaves the room. Connor and I sit quietly. He knows. We both know. We have just received a gift. I whisper in his ear.
This is him saying I love you. This is him saying that he cares that you have bad thoughts.
Connor smiles. This little brother has waited a long time for this.
So this is what the quiet does. It causes us to search for safety. To find the one that makes us feel loved. It allows us to hear heartbeats. It connects us with our emotions. It causes us to see others. To help them in their hurting.
It has me wanting more. More quiet, more rest, more Jesus.
Thank you, Jesus, for being present in the quiet.
edited from a previous post