Noise, noise, noise. It has been so noisy lately.
Each morning I prepare my coffee, settle into my favorite armchair, and watch the first few minutes of the Todayshow before getting ready for work. It’s a familiar routine that eases me into my day. However, it’s been increasingly anything but easy to watch the news, especially over the past few weeks. I feel tension building inside me, so I turn off the television and turn to my phone.
I check my Facebook newsfeed instead. I sip my coffee and smile as I scroll through a few posts reminding me of friends’ birthdays and anniversaries. Another post by a favorite author provides a thoughtful quote to consider. The next one by a friend links to a new worship song; I save it to listen to later. My smile fades as the scroll reaches the vitriol that I knew was lurking somewhere in my feed, and despite my intention to stop reading, I get sucked in.
By the time my husband joins me in the family room, I’m ready to vent. And we’re only thirty minutes into our day!
My mind and body process all of this as a cacophony of noise, and for an introvert like me, it is exhausting. I long for a quiet place to rest.
Usually I can dim the lights, nestle into my chair at home, and practice whatever care my soul is craving—worship music, writing, reading, or simply quiet. Sometimes my soul craves a nap, and I am only too happy to oblige. I’m in a new season though. My teaching schedule has flipped from afternoons to mornings, and I’m up and out the door early. It’s been surprisingly difficult to adjust to this new rhythm and to find a quiet place within it.
I look forward to Sundays, a place in time that has historically provided rest for my soul, yet I find that I’m in a new season there as well. My husband and I have been walking closely with God as we’ve considered a leadership role held at church for more than a decade. This “walking” has felt more like “wrestling,” and it has been exhausting to decide what to do. Now that our decision is made, I realize that it has brought significant upheaval—emotional and otherwise—that will take time to settle.
I turn to my yoga mat, a 24-by-68 piece of Polyurethane, on which I have learned to slow down, breath in and out, and quiet myself. However, this practice has been unsettled too. My new teaching schedule prevents me from attending my usual morning classes, and my evening responsibilities as wife and mother make attending the night classes difficult. Last week I finally found time to attend a class; yet, the teacher, new to me, played a distracting soundtrack throughout our practice. I wanted to weep, for the quiet I so deeply longed for continued to elude me.
Recently I heard someone ask, “When disruption comes, can you engage it with curiosity?” What a timely question as I grapple with the failure of my usual quiet places to provide refuge from the noise. Instead of reacting in frustration, which only heightens my tension, or desperation, which only exhausts me more, I turn to curiosity.
I risk asking questions with hopes they may lead from momentary tranquility to greater understanding and lasting peace.
Surprisingly, I find that as I engage my curiosity, I turn toward God. I settle into His presence. Described in Psalm 94 as a “circle of quiet” and “a hideout,” God encloses me as I ask my questions. I may not find all of the answers or understand the upheaval; however, He assures me, “I am your place of quiet retreat; I will renew you.” And here, in this quiet place, I calm down, breathe deeply, and receive the care that my soul has been craving all along.
A lover of story, Susan Tucker has always been captivated by beautiful writing. She is drawn to themes of tension, joy/grief, hope/loss, freedom/shame, which she explores in her own writing. Susan spends her days teaching middle school English, mothering her two teenage sons, and loving her husband of 25 years. She cherishes her first cup of coffee each morning, moments of quiet and solitude, restorative yoga, worship music, and faithful friends.nbsp
Thank you, Susan. I am also in a season where quiet feels elusive as I provide the care an introverted child needs for schooling at home. This was not in my plan for the year, and the back to school quiet I craved after the chaos of summer vanished. I hear and feel loundly the tension in your transitions. Every season holds so much. I am grateful for the reminder of where true quiet and soul care is found. Also Audrey Assad is a favorite who is frequently found on my playlists (much to my children’s chagrin 😉 Blessings to you, Dear Soul.
Whenever a “plan” gets abruptly upended, even for something as noble as schooling a child, it can certainly set the world topsy-turvy. I deeply admire your heart in this choice and pray that in the settling into this new routine you will find pockets of quiet and significant grace. I love that we share Audrey Assad in common. Tim and I had the good fortune to see her in concert with Andrew Peterson last year…wow! What a duo. <3
Susan, What a timely piece as I think of how so many of us struggle with the pace of our lives. We long and need more quiet and stillness. “And here, in this quiet place, I calm down, breathe deeply, and receive the care that my soul has been craving all along.” You are so wise to feed your soul what it is asking for to be healthy. The song “Drawn to You” is beautiful. I’m so glad He never stops drawing us to Himself. Us wandering, busy souls need to be drawn to Him – constantly. Thank you for writing Susan. Beautiful and thought provoking.
Thank you for your kindness Barbara, both in your comments and in your sweet and sincere heart. I long to be attuned with greater and greater continuity (“Abide in me…”), but I still find myself in this disrupted state wondering where I find peace. Thank God he is faithful and steadfast, beckoning me to find my peace in him. Also, I’m so glad you enjoyed the song.
“When disruption comes, can you engage it with curiosity?” What a timely question….”
Susan, Once again, your writing draws me in, speaks deeply to the season that I have entered. It is a season of huge disruption, re-figuring the “me”, the “what”, the “where”, and the “when.” And yet, in your writing, I find the focus again of the “who”. My curiosity grows as I seek God’s goodness and Face in the midst of this “re-naming”. Your writing is beautiful. Your beautiful soul touches and soothes me in this place. thank you.
Hi Margaret! 🙂 Thank you for affirming me and my writing; I love your courage to engage this disruptive season you find yourself in with curiosity, and if my writing or I lead you even an inch toward the goodness of God, I am profoundly thankful. Bless you as you continue to journey on. I’ll see you soon and look eagerly to another shared meal and conversation.
Engage it with curiosity. Yes.
Yes, I’m grateful I received this encouragement. To engage with curiosity rather than fear, shame, judgment…It’s been such a game changer for me.
Susan, I resonated deeply with your words. (I see much in common with your desires and struggles). You give me permission to ponder my desires and dreams. I pray that your afternoons will allow for time on your mat for replenishment❤️
Thank you Becky, so much. I am trying to be patient in this season of transition with hope that my afternoons will reveal a spaciousness that I have yet to discover. Hopefully that will include a return to my yoga mat and the embodied peace, joy, and grace I find there. I deeply appreciate you naming the affect of my words; it’s a powerful encouragement of so much more than my writing, but of my very heart. Thank you.