A Rare Moment of Quiet

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Quiet moments in my life are rare. I have a big family and though the kids are older, at any given time I still have a couple of them at home. My job is busy and full of people. I live in a city that teems with people on weekdays, and on weekends there aren’t many quiet moments.

But I found myself with a moment of quiet yesterday morning. All I heard was the ticking of a clock in the dining room. I never realized how loud the ticking was. The quiet was welcome and disturbing at the same time. In the back of my mind I felt I should be ‘doing’. Because sitting, meditating, thinking? All of those are counter-culture — contrary to the way the world operates.

In a world that says “Do”, I need to learn to “Be”.

In a world that says “Go”, I need to learn to “Stop”.

In a world that says “Get”, I need to learn to “Give”.

In a world that proclaims “Self”, I need to remember “Others”.

In a world that rewards noisy arrogance, I long for quiet confidence.

So in the quiet, I reach out for words to affirm what my heart knows full well. I am not disappointed for I find them from the prophet Isaiah who lived and prophesied in a world that heard a lot of noise.

This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says:

“In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength,
but you would have none of it.
You said, ‘No, we will flee on horses.’
Therefore you will flee!
You said, ‘We will ride off on swift horses.’
Therefore your pursuers will be swift!
A thousand will flee
at the threat of one;
at the threat of five
you will all flee away,
till you are left
like a flagstaff on a mountaintop,
like a banner on a hill.”
Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you;
he rises to show you compassion.
For the LORD is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for him!
 

The quiet is no longer disturbing, instead I soak it in the way I soak in the sunshine from the window –  For this is life-giving, soul-strengthening, confidence-producing quiet.

17 thoughts on “A Rare Moment of Quiet

  1. Thanks Marilyn – so appropriate for our Sunday – just staying at home. And a good thing we weren’t going to church, we completely forgot to set the clocks ahead, and didn’t know till noon that we were an hour behind. That is one of my best loved passages from Isaiah. Best Loved would have to be Isaiah 40. And where is that picture? It is such a picture of peace and beauty. Love you!

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  2. I was going to write about the same thing this week. On Wednesday, I worked from home and noticed the quiet as I folded laundry (taking a break from phone conferences and email). It was pure joy. My family always has music on or watched TV/netflix while they do work/homework. I love quiet. In fact, I have been known to drive for hours in total quiet. I love it. And it is so strange to some. And it is so uncommon for us to have it. So glad that you had some…and that you embraced it.

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    1. Yes – pure joy is a great description. Seeking more quiet in my world. In the summer that’s what I love in Rockport. No internet, no tv, no interruptions – quiet!

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  3. So timely! I wrote about the same thing on Thursday – sitting and thinking. It’s losing value in our culture with all the easy, pithy distractions, but it’s needed to be grounded and have proper perspective. “. . . in quietness and trust [in the Lord!] is your strength.”

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      1. Someone just quoted that verse yesterday to a class I’m taking…. I love that! He RESTORES….. He Restores MY Soul!! What a deep and poignant reality. My soul needs restoration these days…..

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  4. My favorite poem re: quiet/stillness:

    The Lake of Beauty

    Let your mind be quiet, realising the beauty of the world, and
    the immense, the boundless treasures that it holds in store.

    All that you have within you, all that your heart desires, all
    that your Nature so specially fits you for – that or the counterpart
    of it waits embedded in the great Whole, for you. It will surely
    come to you.

    Yet equally surely not one moment before its appointed time
    will it come. All your crying and fever and reaching out of hands
    will make no difference.

    Therefore do not begin that game at all.

    Do not recklessly spin the waters of your mind in this direction
    and in that, lest you become like a spring lost and dissipated
    in the desert.

    But draw them together into a little compass, and hold them
    still, so still;

    And let them become clear, so clear – so limpid, so mirror-like;

    At last the mountains and the sky shall glass themselves in
    peaceful beauty,

    And the antelope shall descend to drink, and to gaze at his
    reflected image, and the lion to quench his thirst,

    And Love himself shall come and bend over, and catch his own
    likeness in you.

    ~by Edward Carpenter
    (an extract from ‘Towards Democracy’ written in 1883)

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    1. Have never seen this poem – Love.this. Thank you – this is why I love it when people comment – it makes the post so much deeper and richer. Am copying and pasting this, printing it out and putting it by my oh-so-noisy grey cubicle.

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    2. Thanx for sharing that! I guess I have too much quiet these days~I tend to be much too introspective~The hard part is listening to what the Lord has to say thru the quiet and responding with a gentle, quiet, humble spirit. I need your prayers as I have just gone thru my worst late winter “cabin fever” (severe depression with suicidal thots) ever.

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      1. Sending caring thoughts and prayers – that your winter will soon lead to your invincible summer.

        In the depths of winter I finally learned there was in me an invincible summer.
        ~Albert Camus

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      2. Mk – I’m thinking of you and will send a private response. Winter can be so hard – especially if we’ve grown up in tropical climates.

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  5. Quiet moments are like a glass of pure cold water, that can refresh you like nothing else.
    Thanks for the writing, it reminded me to stop working for a moment and just look out of the window. Just for a moment.

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