One of my New Year’s Not-Exactly-Resolutions this year was to work on building quiet into my daily schedule. Focused quiet, where I’m meditating on a Scripture or inspiring thought, maybe praying, maybe listening, maybe all of the above, but definitely being quiet. I still think that’s important, but I have a feeling I should expand my original goal a little.
As I write, my daughter is upstairs in her room writing another chapter of her modern twist on a fairy tale. (The last time I checked in, the princess was rescuing the prince and wasn’t sure if she actually wanted to go out with him at all.) My son is lying on the couch icing his knee from an injury he got at Boy Scouts this morning, and reading J. R. R. Tolkien’s “The Two Towers.” I’ve been drinking a cup of tea and enjoying a rare non-working Saturday afternoon at home. I’ve been alternately catching up on a favorite blog and playing Candy Crush, which isn’t your standard Bible study fare.
It’s not thought-provoking Biblical exegesis or anything like it. The blog I’m reading makes me laugh and think, but it’s not like I’m plowing through Spurgeon’s sermons or a commentary on the Petrine epistles. I’m not praying (other than a quick word sent upward if something pops up in my news feed that I think God should have a little friendly reminder about). I’m not searching my soul, but I really could use another one of those striped/wrapped candy combos, because this level is kicking my butt.
Is this what the Friends tradition would generally consider “holy silence”, that quiet stillness that centers on listening for the voice of God? Nope. Do I need it? Heck yeah.
I can’t even remember the last non-midnight time that both children were quiet, I wasn’t answering work emails, and there was no music playing or Netflix running somewhere in the house. Earlier this afternoon I sat at my kitchen table, looked out at the soft grey sky and occasional raindrops, wrapped both hands (both! the other hand wasn’t taking notes or clicking a mouse or pushing buttons on the washing machine!) around my mug of tea, and … did nothing. NOTHING. I looked out the window and noticed that there’s kind of a neat reflection of the porch railing across the wet boards of the porch floor, and heard my kitchen clock ticking, and enjoyed my warm tea, and that was it.
Maybe it’s not REAL study time, with notebooks and interlinear translations and highlighters. But I think God lives in those quiet, domestic moments, and I’m going to see about finding a few more of them.