To Seek Quiet in the Loud

Oftentimes when I wake in the morning, my body begins to stir before my mind is ready to engage with the fact that it will have to remain alert for the next, oh, seventeen-ish hours. Generally, my body clock begins to sound around 5:15, and my body obeys whenever Esmae’s little cries start to carry down the hall and into our room, which is usually around 5:45.  What I wouldn’t give for her to sleep just 45 minutes longer, I’m telling you.

Although my eyes feel heavy and my body stiff with its awakening, there is something special, something beautiful, something wholesome about being awake in the early morning hours.  The sound of the birds chattering back and forth to one another; the trees gently swaying with the breeze; the fragrant smell of the lilacs wafting through the open windows mixed with the smell of a fresh pot of coffee; the silence of everything else—no feet stomping around the house, no cars driving, no sirens sounding, no dogs barking, no kids screaming, no timers going off, no nothing except for the natural noises often covered up by the wild rumpus that is our life.

As I sit here in the quiet and allow my mind to wander—to be free from the nagging to-do list, to be free from the mundane and sometimes suffocating demands on my existence, I recognize my tiredness.  As the raindrops begin to slowly, one at a time pitter patter on and stream down the windows, I feel worn down and sleepy.  As I breathe deeply of the air that smells like a shower from heaven, I feel emotionally a bit exhausted from caring for the needs of three tender, dependent little children.  My body gets a chill as the wind sweeps across the room with a sharpness that tells me a storm is on its way.

I find it interesting the way our bodies respond to stress and the way they respond to quiet.  In the quiet spaces I am much more aware of my body, my mind, my spirit.  I have space to breathe, to feel, to think.  In the midst of the whirlwinds that are my days, I survive, in-tune with few of my personal needs, yet immensely in-tune with the needs of my little people.  That is what it is to be a mother though, isn’t it?  If done well, it is the most selfless job—one with great sacrifice and little praise; one with gradual-yet-increasing loss of self, yet paradoxically one of finding greater self-worth.  It makes sense, though, why oftentimes we mamas, we people really, feel so suffocated and drug down by life when we have little space, right?  We let life’s demands grab at us from all sides and end up giving to ourselves little margin for the things that give us life.

For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel,
“In returning and rest you shall be saved;
in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” –Isaiah 30:15

In quietness and trust shall we find our strength.  Quietness and trust will grow our roots down deep where the soil is rich and full so that when the demands of life inevitably grab at us from all sides, we can stand firm, we can breathe deep, we can do more than survive. 

This has been our sixth week with little X, the wrecking ball, in our home.  I’ve been reflecting on the week, and I keep saying that it’s felt easier for some reason.  I’ve said to our friends that I’m not sure what corner we turned, but we turned one and for that I’m so grateful.  I think, honestly, the corner “we” turned is a corner I turned.  I’ve given myself spaces this week to breathe.  I’ve listened to podcasts and worship music as I do the dishes.  I’ve sat and read when I needed a break instead of watching a show or scrolling through my media feeds.  I’ve delighted in Jesus; I’ve returned and rested and in that quietness and trust I’ve found my strength.  While our society and culture encourages us to do-it-all and be-it-all and say every “yes”, I think there’s something sacred in chasing the slow life—the rested, rich, deeply rooted life.  For there we find ourselves in Him rather than in our ever-growing to-do lists and fleeting feelings of productivity.