The Beauty of Quiet

My new writing space!  Super excited, especially as the book starts to come together!

My new writing space! Super excited, especially as the book starts to come together!

I sit in my new writing space in the home we’ve just moved to. It is July 3rd (the eve of the birth of the United States of America), and I finally hear it…

 

Something I’ve longed for all summer long…

 

Something I sought at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament more than a month ago…

 

Something my soul yearns for…

 

Can you hear it?

 

The beauty of quiet…

 

I arrived home approximately an hour and a half ago. Our five children ravenous for dinner, as always. I quickly made a homemade sloppy joe mixture (daughter #4 says, “I didn’t know you could do that!”), pop opened 2 cans of corn, whipped up a simple salad, opened a jar of pickles, and ordered everyone to use a paper plate!

 

I was enjoying myself, thinking, “Hey, for a working Catholic mom, I sure did do dinner right tonight!” And the # 4 daughter even assisted! She told me a couple of weeks ago, “Mom, I’ve been practicing something while you are at work.” So, taking the bait, I asked, “What have you been practicing?” She nonchalantly says, “I’ve been working on my cooking. I’m getting pretty experienced.”

 

Whoa! Wait…Anyway, for the past few weeks, I’ve enjoyed the help in the kitchen. It’s been fun. The first thing we did in our new kitchen was to make cupcakes.

Daughter #4 proud of her handy work in the kitchen.  She's a trooper!

Daughter #4 proud of her handy work in the kitchen. She’s a trooper!

 

I digress…

 

The only place I’ve been silent lately is on my blog. With the move, some big things at work, and the day to day duties of raising a 5 kid family, my blog took the beating for it. That’s ok. I was ok with that. My passion to write was replaced with the busy-ness of my days in the last few months.

 

Tonight, after dinner, the kids say, “Hey, our friend invited all of us to come swim tonight. Can we go, Momma? You want to come, too?”

 

As I looked around the kitchen, knowing it would be me to clean tonight, I realized that perhaps the children were giving me a gift. The gift of time. The gift of alone. The gift of silence.

 

I say, “Hey, I’m good. But I’m happy for you guys to have fun with your friends. It’s kinda weird they invited all of you, but that’s good! You guys go have a good time.”

 

With my hubby on a silent retreat this weekend, we are now in solidarity with one another, at least for the moment.

 

This has me wondering why my soul seeks silence so much. As an introvert, I understand from a leadership perspective that to make decisions my very BRAIN needs time to process, away from others. This makes sense to me, in light of my education and knowledge of the work place. My best decisions are made in my own temperament, and for me, that means a good period of silence, working on the best solutions. Once my brain has had chance to internally process and weigh all of the options, I usually have some pretty good solutions.

 

But this other longing for silence comes not from my brain, but from my SOUL. It is when I am able to understand there is chaos around me everywhere, but my SOUL seeks peace and comfort. It is time when no matter what is going on in the world around me, in the house, or right there in front of my face…my desire is for interior recollection.

 

And when my SOUL is crying out for this type of silence, I know Our Lord is calling me to the silence….perhaps to hear Him better.

 

Automatically, I think of Elijah, the prophet.

 

“And he said, “Go forth and stand upon the mount before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.”

 

A still small voice.

 

We want the earthquake. The fire. The grand gesture. We want to be sure the Lord is speaking to us, and sometimes seek the chaos, confusing it with God.

 

Typically for me, the Lord is not in the grand gesture.

 

Usually, I feel the tug of Our Blessed Mother first…

 

Slow down. Sit down and relax. Interior recollection. Sacred Heart. Immaculate Heart. Peace. Silence.

 

As the kids left for the fun adventures which awaited them, I had a moment of panic. What will I do without them here? It will just be me, God, and the dog. Actually, the dog is cowering in the corner of the office because the icemaker is scaring her. L For all intents and purposes, I’m on my own with God.

 

And it’s the beauty of God. It is an opportunity. My soul is settled and peaceful.

 

I have some suggestions if you are ever faced with a moment of silence. Even for extroverts, who do their best processing out loud, your soul may at times long for silence. Here are my suggestions:

 

  1. Resist the urge to fill the silence with noise – inside and outside of your head. For example, resist the temptation to polish up your to do list. Let the list wait. Also, perhaps resist the urge to clean, by thinking, “Well, since they are gone, time to take out the Clorox.” Teach them how to take out the Clorox upon their return. Use this time for you.
  2. If you have a prayer corner or family altar in your home, this would be a good time for you to spend some alone time at that sacred domestic altar. Praying a Rosary (even if you’ve already prayed one that day), or simply saying Jesus, or reading a spiritual book (without taking notes)…these are all good ways to start your moment of silence.
  3. Have you rested in a while? Perhaps this is an invitation from both your children and Our Lord to rest. Relax. Take a nap. Think of the peace that Jesus wants you to have when He said, “Peace be with you.” Let that be the last thought as you doze into a moment of silence.
  4. Take a walk. I just returned from allowing my big skaredy cat golden retriever to drag me around the big field behind the house. Someone had just cut the grass, so the smell of summer was INCREDIBLE! Although it was hot, the moment was a silent invitation to enjoy nature.
  5. Instead of focusing on the project at work you’ve brought home for the weekend, maybe write a letter to Our Lord. Start the letter with 5 things you are most grateful for during that very day. Pour out your heart to the Lord, who is in the silence.

 

These moments are few and far between. They definitely do not happen often. However, I find when I can take advantage of the silence, I am better able to develop interior recollection, which is OFTEN what I need in the chaos.

I have to go now…I’ve got an incredible book about St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross calling out to me in this silence.

Peace of Christ to each of you.

Mary

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Comments

  1. I’m a mom of twin boys turning two next week and I’m needing the precious quiet lately! Thanks for the reminder not to fill nap time with cleaning and other distractions! :)

  2. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! I’m preparing for the Vacherie Mission trip followed by the Real World Service Camp, so I needed this invitation to silence in a special way. I love how Our Lord ALWAYS uses your words to touch my life. :)

    • Mo…I pray the Vacherie Mission was successful. From all facebook accounts, it appears you guys were able to impact the youth, once again! Awesome job!

      Mary

  3. Glad you are back. I hope you got settled in quickly!!

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