Silence

It’s not that I’ve been avoiding this place. I haven’t been feeling well this last month and have only had one or two times when I had an idea for a post at all. This one came weeks ago but today I decided it was time to dive back in.

I had to make a doctor’s appointment and at the moment, they all start out with a phone appointment where they decide whether you need to come in or not. My house is full of noisy people (crazy, hey?) and so when I got my appointment time booked, I took my Bible and notebook out to my van and closed myself in. I could have gone into my room and locked the door but every time I do that, there is an inevitable fight that breaks out or a demand on me that I can’t ignore.

When I shut the door to the van and settled in to read my Bible while I waited for the phone call, I realized just how quiet it was. I hardly ever experience real quiet. I try to get up before the kids in the morning, and most days I succeed, but usually only by ten or twenty minutes. My daughter gets up before me anyway, so she is often around and wanting to talk. In our house, the little kids go to bed between eight and nine but the baby doesn’t go down until after ten and the oldest five kids go to bed when they want to – sometimes as late as midnight. They are supposed to stay quiet but we recently had to move the oldest boys out of their bedroom downstairs and into the family room there. So now they are directly below the living room and my bedroom, meaning late night quiet isn’t really a thing either.

I soaked up the quiet in the van for around fifteen minutes before the phone rang. I thought about how silence is a bit scary to me at times – I just want to fill it with music or speech or something to laugh at. But I know it’s needed, especially with a life like mine, full of people and sound.

It has been a trying six weeks. I developed gastritis from the stressful situation I was in at the beginning of August and haven’t fully shaken it yet. We had a bit of busyness that was unavoidable and I got wrapped up in things that only distracted me from opportunities for silence and reflection.

When I was a teenager, I went to twice yearly “silent retreats.” Now this didn’t mean that we were literally silent the entire time and didn’t fellowship with each other, only that we had hours at a time to go off by ourselves and be quiet before the Lord. Ideally, I would have time each day to read the Word and talk to God in the silence before my kids get up, but I have learned that some stages in life require creativity.

This is not profound or anything, just a reminder to get away in silence now and then. We live in a noisy world – kids or not – and a little bit of silence is a beautiful gift to ourselves.

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