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