There are many places where I have gotten the message to “Be Quiet”. Some are more memorable than others. For instance: my high school Latin teacher gruffly telling me to be quiet in front of the whole class, or my mother yelling at me to be quiet so as not to upset my father. The atmosphere in libraries and hospitals lends itself to being quiet…more simply understood than announced. Yet all these instances cause a level of anxiety to creep in, and for my heart to feel a measure of embarrassed insecurity as I attempt to figure out how to behave for what comes next. It is difficult to calm my heart and to restore my state of well being that has gotten derailed. This remains true for where I am today.
My heart has taken some heavy hits over the years. I didn’t realize how much until I began seeking a quiet place reserved just for me in the presence of God.
At this stage of my life the place is readily available; nevertheless, there is rawness in my heart that is difficult to pacify on my quest to be quiet before God.
For much of my life I have glossed over what is really going on for me. Many times my mind wanders, my heart is uneasy, and my body feels tight and uncomfortable. I feel fragmented. My thoughts skip across the surface of my heart searching for a place to land. All these are major distractions to capture my being in the presence of a holy God. Believe me, I have tried very hard to be quiet…to listen…to submit. It has felt like a tug of war as I have been yanked around through my aimless effort to be quiet. I am learning what it means to be kind to my heart as I search for what I need, as a sensual woman, who seeks to be quiet before God.
Ironically it is not total silence…for years I thought it was! But I found out that what I see, what I hear, what I taste and what I touch play vital parts in settling into a place of quiet listening in my heart. Ideally this place is on my sun porch. It can be noisy out there as lots of dynamics come into play that engage my heart to be quiet and listen for what God has for me on a given day. My senses come into play…I can hear the wind blowing and the waves crashing onto the shoreline…I can feel the breeze through the open windows…I can smell the heaviness of the air pregnant with lake water…I can feel the soft cushion on my chair… I can sip my tea loaded with the sweetness of honey… I can stroke the dachshund on my lap. All this comes together to set the stage for me to be quiet and enjoy the voice of God.
I would like to believe that God enjoys me there as well, yet I know that He listens and answers the petitions of my anxious heart no matter where I am. It is more about me being in a place to receive what is so generously offered.
So for now, I am quiet enjoying my tea and the dachshund on my lap. It is all I have for today…it is enough.
Mary Jane Hamilton has grown to love her sense of style and her peaceful lake living. Mother of 2 and grandmother of 6, she has a wonderful capacity to love and is still active as The Tooth Fairy. She is extremely fond of her dachshunds, who rarely venture from her lap, and enjoys biking with her husband of 44 years. She is rekindling her writing skills and finding it life giving.