My mom took the kids with her today and I’m left alone in an uncharacteristically quiet house. Husband is out mowing the lawn, and there has descended over our home a blanket of stillness. I grab these exquisite moments like the treasures they are because, in our house of constant togetherness, they don’t often occur.
As I plop down on our sofa, I notice that my living room shelves are dusty and the carpet is crumby. The dog is losing teeth like mad these days, and I find a tiny eye tooth by one of the end tables. I already know I’m not going to do a thing about any of it right now. I need to read Scripture instead, and just be quiet.
I crack open my Bible and listen to the noisy nothing for a few moments. I hear the ticking of our kitchen clock. The puppy expels a puff of breath through her nostrils as she dozes on the forbidden couch. The refrigerator hums dutifully, a motorcycle zooms down the road, its tailpipe momentarily louder than my thoughts. My heart beats a little faster, though my breath comes slow. I always sense that something is about to happen when I’m sitting alone in silence. I blame it partly on my fanciful childhood and my Anne of Green Gables ways, and partly on C. S. Lewis.
I read for awhile and then, almost unbidden, prayers begin to form in my mind. A watercolor painting of all that I’ve been carrying. Chik-Fil-A, Pastor Youcef languishing in prison, my oldest son’s moodiness. Am I a good-enough mother? Would I be willing to die for Jesus if I had to? Worse, almost, would I be willing to be mocked and misunderstood and hated for him? This carpet is dirty. What’s the point of vacuuming my carpet when Pastor Youcef might not be getting enough to eat in prison these days? Lord, bless him with extra food today. More roti and even some chicken and dhaal, Lord. Let today be a strong day for him and his wife. This world is wicked, Lord. The temperature is dropping and, when I’m quiet, I realize that I’m shaking from the cold. Warm me with your presence so that I can warm others.
Before I know it, Husband is back and the dog’s tail is wagging her. The kids are still gone and he lumbers to the shower. My quiet moments have fled. But something has shifted inside me. The quiet has soaked into my soul. The Lord is near. I know that now. He will carry me through, till the next surprise moment of holy stillness.