My sons and I pile on the bed, all of us in a rare still moment, so I can clip their nails. I can hear them breathe. The windows are open, and a storm is coming. Curtains sail.
Moments like these are scattered between yelling matches, bloody noses, and tickle wars. My strong voice outlines strict instruction on how to pick up toys. I take every opportunity I can to name out loud a character I want out of my house and the ones, too, that I welcome. Our voices ring out from here like the hum of stars. We do what we do – live – and it’s all messy and loud, and often I’ve found myself having given all my time to the demands of the noise without even having found time to stop and eat.
My husband has been pursuing quiet for lent, and he’s been speaking it to me before he leaves for work. Hands on my shoulders, he says, “Take peace, and find that quiet place with God.” I must confess that I often respond with “pfffff” and an eye-roll, like what’s he even talking about – quiet, in this house.
We have 4 sons. We are many many things, but quiet is not one of them, and for that matter, Seth and I were loud enough before the kids.
But now that he’s mentioned it, now that he’s told me to grab those quiet moments and call them holy, I’ve noticed more and more how I reside in a throne room, even here in front of an entire box of cereal dumped out. Here I am with God at the sink; God on a walk to the mailbox; God outside at the garbage can; God as they stick their focused-tongues out to color a picture.
I’m in the shower, the hot water and the washing all done, but I stand here still. Usually I’m telling Jesus all the things that make me tired, if I’m acknowledging Him at all. But I’m learning, instead, to just be silent.
I’m learning so slowly to cut off complaint and the noise of anxiety, that only then comes the silence, that space where God speaks. I’m trying to cut straight to it, to hear it now. Hear it with me, His telling us, “I am with you [...]“
I recognize the rarity of quiet amid the mental noise that comes from social media, noise from fear of failed marriages like giant trees falling, the actual ruckus at the kitchen table, and the noise the baby makes when he wants to be held – the sound of a pterodactyl crashing into the room.
Weren’t we after all made for communion? Yes, and in this is often chatter, spilling the heart out in honesty. But, too, there is simple presence – the table where the drink is passed to us. Some moments we remember the quiet sound of the bread, the veil, split in two. Because we can’t talk and swallow at the same time, we call Jesus our bread even in the minuscule quiet moments, and then we take and eat.
written by Amber Haines