It is quiet here. I’ve opened a window upstairs and listened to a cardinal sing, watching the tail of one cat twitching feverishly as she longed to jump through the screen and quell that song forever. But it is quiet, otherwise. It is a holiday morning and everyone else is still sleeping. I’ve had two smallish cups of not-my-favorite-but-it-is-here coffee and am working on my third. My eyes are open and I like to think that here, in the quiet of my house, my heart is open, too.
Yesterday in church as part of the Story for all Ages, our minister talked about soldiers and about using silence to honor service and death. He then had the children stand and be quiet for one whole minute in order to practice for 3:00 today, when many people will honor the fallen through silence.
Our sanctuary is not known for its silence. Partly because an oft-used train track slides right by our church, and partly because there is a caudry of people who truly believe that laughter and commentary are essential to worship. But in that moment when our minister instructed our children to stand silently, a hush fell over the room in which I felt, quite viscerally, my own need for the intentional silence.
Lately, when in the company of my eldest daughter, I have noticed an inability on her part to just simply sit. She is tapping and snapping and fidgeting in ways that drive me absolutely–and I’d even say literally–over the edge of sanity. “Please stop it,” I instruct in my cranky way. And when she does and then resumes, nervously, impatiently, I implore her “Can’t you just be still?”
I’m craving stillness, I realized in that moment of silence which came smack dab in the middle of a four-day weekend with my children and only 8 days from their last day of school which portends some 80 contiguous days of snapping and tapping and general fidgety-ness.
I’m craving stillness and the willingness to let my mind ramble a while–without interruption, without agenda, without reason or rationality. In these early morning moments of stillness, I’ve learned something about my own need to let my mind run like an unbridled pony. It is in my head and in my heart where I am nimble and quick, where I can jump out of small context, view the large picture, and jump back in with a healthy dose of perspective. In my head, my arms are free of gravity and can wrap around issues large and small. In my head, my body floats, free of that which defines the physical me.
It is in the stillness I presume upon myself, that I am active beyond measure. In the stillness, I am poised like a hurdler at the starting blocks, my muscles taut and ready, my eyes pointed forward, my ears pricked for the pistol to ring out, my legs and arms twitching to start that synchronized and practiced dance over the obstacles ahead of me. In the stillness, I run and jump, and find myself, waiting at the finish line, ready, once again, to face the snappy, tappy, fidgetyness of a world that is rarely still.