Quiet

Some synonyms of quiet are: muted, peaceful, silent, soft, hushed, reserved, still, low, soundless.

Today I have pondered quiet. As I walked today there was a muffled sound of traffic in the distance, the call of the birds in the trees, and the sound of my footsteps on the driveway gravel.

It was still, peaceful, hushed. We longed for quiet when we lived in San Diego. We were opposite the freeway. There was the constant hum of eight lanes of traffic. The steady rumble of vehicles traveling by at high speeds. The access road below our house sounded with the thump, the grating, the grinding of the machines in various buildings. In the sky above was the sound of jets landing and departing from the airport. Police helicopters swooped by sometimes instructing those below to remain in their homes for safety. Military jets and helicopters flew overhead, training or heading to a mission. There was no quiet. It was constant noise pollution all around us.

Now, we live in a rural place. Our home is surrounded by woods. We live on a quiet road. Rarely do we hear planes or helicopters. It is still, peaceful and our bodies have adjusted to the lack of noise.

So often we keep ourselves at such a hectic pace, it is hard to be still. We grow used to chaos, noise, activity. It wears us out, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

I used to drive to the mountains when we lived in San Diego. The mountains offered quiet, stillness. I would leave early in the morning and spend time soaking the quiet while parked beside Lake Cuyamaca. Eventually I would head home a bit refreshed. By time I got home, though, fighting the traffic and starting to plan meals for the family in my head, I was once more unsettled and busy.

When looking for our forever home, the one thing we both readily agreed on was it had to be quiet. Our precious Lord answered that request in abundance.

“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” Isaiah 26:3 (NLT)

A Quiet Day

Most of my days are quiet. With just Dale and I together, we live a pretty sedate life. We enjoy it and relish our time together.

Today, Dale was gone and my thoughts wandered back to other times when I would have a day just for myself. I was a stay at home Mom for most of my life. I started back to work when our youngest started school. I worked part time so that I could be with my girls and they could have a schedule. It worked for us.

Before our girls were born, I usually had every other day off for the most part. I worked days on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and evenings on Thursday, Friday and once a month on Saturday. During those days off I would wander down to the villages we lived near in Japan. I would browse the shops and enjoy our surroundings. Stopping at the fruit and vegetable market, I would buy our produce and head home, either by bus or just walking. They were peaceful days and I loved the experience of living overseas.

When the girls came along, quiet days were very rare, although occasionally we would hit on one. Times spent at a park or at the beach didn’t feel quiet, but in retrospect they were wonderful memory filled times.

I stopped working full time when Dale finished college after his military retirement. His job required him to travel and I once more had quiet days to myself.

I enjoy quiet times and once we both officially retired, time together was what we have shared. I do confess, though, there are times when I ask when the next deployment is going to be. Those comments are met with laughter and I think only about the closets I would like to clean out and have things ‘disappear’.

That is what I have found. Retirement is a wonderful time, but, as a housewife purging unnecessary things is difficult. Also, just watching mindless movies that are predictable isn’t common. I find myself being cognizant of what I watch, what I snack on, what I do.

Today, though, was a throw-back quiet day. A day to myself. It has been relaxing. I haven’t really accomplished anything. I have sat back and absorbed the quiet. I have eaten brownies. The closets are still cluttered, the floors still need vacuumed, the ironing is still waiting, wrinkled, but I am almost relaxed. The dinner hour is approaching and I am drawing a blank, but I know I will bring something together.

For now, the quiet of the house has given me a respite. It has been nice. I have needed a quiet day.

Sunday Quiet

“There remains therefore a rest for the people of God.” Hebrews 4:9 (NKJV)

It is late Sunday afternoon. Our day has gone well, up and out of the house in time for worship practice for Dale and then church.

Church was wonderful and we left refreshed from the service. We grabbed some lunch and headed home.

This is usually what our Sundays look like. Sundays are a quiet day, no unnecessary activity, just what is needed. Naps are often part of the afternoons, and Dale slept in his chair today while I walked.

As I walked, I thought about how quickly this summer has passed by. I complain about summer, I dread it’s beginning, I dislike the heat and the humidity and I dread the season. This afternoon it occurred to me that it really doesn’t last long, my attitude towards it lasts longer.

Seasons pass by too soon. Days also. It’s nice to take time once a week to slow down. It is on Sundays that I spend much of my time thinking. Yes, I am blessed by church services, by prayer through the morning, and conversations that I have. Then, at home I think of all my should haves and could haves. My why haven’t I accomplished this, or when are you going to do this?

I blame the quiet. It gives me time to think, to ponder and to comprehend how I feel about friends and family. Sundays are the days I allow myself to think about those who are dear to me. To recognize those homesick feelings for people who live away from me.

Yes, I am thankful for quiet days. I love Sundays. I feel challenged, though, as to how to communicate with family how much I care and love them. How my heart longs to talk uninterrupted and for length. Times and seasons pass, I need to learn to put into action how to communicate and spend the time with those I love.

The Still Small Voice

“Oh, I’ve heard a thousand stories of what they think You’re like
But I’ve heard the tender whisper of love in the dead of night
And You tell me that You’re pleased And that I am never alone

‘Cause You’re a Good, Good Father
It’s who You are, it’s who You are, it’s who You are
And I’m loved by You
It’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am” Good, Good Father~ Casting Crowns

When the lights go out for the night, when you lie in bed, getting comfortable, waiting for sleep to come. Suddenly a parade begins. The clanging cymbals, the beating drum, the kazoos blasting from obnoxious clowns and rest flees. It’s not an actual parade, it’s a screaming replay of everything you have tried to stifle. Fears become focused. Dread is creeping from it’s hiding places. Ridicule is throwing grotesque memories at you. Peace is gone. Sleep is being held at bay.

Your mind goes through each part of this parade. You struggle to gain containment of your thoughts. In times like these I begin to pray. I ask the Father to remove the lies and their cohorts. I endeavor to find the peace and calm I had before the lights were turned out.

It is times like these, when it feels like the world has tormented you and filled your mind with all sorts of thoughts and you feel alone in the night. Elijah the prophet felt the same, alone. He had, with the Lord’s help, destroyed the prophets of Baal and fled for his life, thinking his life was next to be destroyed. He traveled for 40 days and nights and came to cave in Mt Sinai. The Lord asked him what he was doing there. I Kings 19:10-13a,  Elijah replied, “I have zealously served the Lord God Almighty. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed every one of your prophets. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.”11 “Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the Lord told him. And as Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.” (NLT)

Sometimes when we pray, we expect earth shattering answers, filled with the drama like the old Bible movies where everyone is speaking in King James English. I have seen few answers to prayers that dramatic and I can say I never hear the Lord speaking to me in thee’s and thou’s.

In the dead of night when I call him, it is like a child calling out to a Father after a bad dream. The response is the same. A tender answer and an encouragement. The above song we sang today at church. It struck me, that our Heavenly Father will tell me He’s pleased with me and He loves me, just as I am.

“A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows, Is God in His holy habitation. ” Psalm 68:5 (NKJV) He is a good, good Father, it’s who He is.