Thursday, May 22, 2014

Quiet Living in an Unquiet World


It was one of those nights best communicated
by a cranky baby,
a chili dog,
a chest cold,
a light in my face,
and heavy equipment working on a road not far from my house.
Can I please have a nap?

Most nights, I head to my bed nearly giddy with anticipation of sleep.
It's so disappointing when the snorting and complaining start up
just as I begin to drift off.
And when I wake in the morning,
it would be nice if I felt more rested than I did when I laid down.

I started my day with coffee, and a hungry baby who left me one-handed.
I've been reading the book of John,
and I balanced that while holding the baby and sipping the coffee.
It feels good on my throat, and lessens the coughing a little.
There is a crashing sound from upstairs,
laughter from another room,
and strains of Oh My Darling, Clementine playing from the harmonica.
The harmonica makes me smile.
I owned one myself as a kid, and never once played a real song on mine.
My son was playing two or three before he had owned it 24 hours.
But this is Quiet Time.

Quiet Time is that magical thing Christians urge each other to have
in order to grow spiritually.
First Thing in the morning, when you are fresh.
Except I am not fresh.
I am exhausted.
It consists of reading one's Bible prayerfully just as the sun comes up,
and all the rest of your family are still sleeping.
Mine are rarely still sleeping,
and I feel like the sun was shining in my face all night.
It was really the garage light, but nearly as bright.
Then, of course, that Sweet Hour of Prayer.
When they truly are silent,
and I am not interrupted by announcements of the cat having thrown up,
or the toilet overflowing,
I do spend more time 'in prayer'.
And if the baby is sleeping when we go to bed at night,
he holds my hand and we whisper together softly,
holding our breath when the snorting and kicking starts up.
But most days, it's here a little, there a little.

I think about ambition for a quiet life while I fold laundry.
About working with my own hands while I pull a few weeds in the garden.
I pray for a grieving friend while I rinse the plates,
and sometimes it's less words
than just a heart lifted up to heaven with an ache and a sigh.
I trust the Holy Spirit to know how to minister to that sighed-over friend.
I think about the phrase 'the God before whom I live', as I live,
transferring loads of laundry,
and changing diapers,
and cleaning out the spaces between small toes.

Study to be quiet...
I'm trying.
Trying to get it right.
Practicing again when I got it wrong.
The Scripture calls a quiet spirit very expensive to God.
It's worth cultivating.

1 comment:

Mark said...

I love this. Our days should be a constant communication with Him. If its quiet at some time, all the better.

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