My phone vibrates on the table near my bed, and I grab it quickly and shut it off. It’s one of those misty California Bay Area mornings–gray blanket thrown gently across quiet sky. Everything feels quiet. I picture God tucking me in still, even as I stretch my arms, rising slowly out of bed.
I know every creak in the beams of this old bungalow, 100 years old. So, my steps into the kitchen are careful, ginger. The rest of the house still sleeps. The stillness is tangible–so amazing and beautiful and rare I can hardly believe it. I coax my noisy, excited dog out the back door and sit on the couch in the family room, right off the kitchen. This is sacred.
Oh, God, thank you.
I sit for a while, breathing in the beauty of this space–and then I lie down on the couch. Oh, I want to drink in this stillness. I want to wrap myself up in this quiet. This is no small thing.
For each of us, our time with God looks different–and different situations call for different experiences with Him, too. This moment–in the stillness? It was one I didn’t want to forget. So I grabbed my notebook and a pen from the kitchen cabinet–and I wrote.
How rare and precious it is, this quiet, this time with you. I love my family around me, and I would be sad to be alone for days. But periods of quiet, of complete silence, when things, even the air around me, feels completely still? I am grateful. And I want to stay.
I have trouble desiring to hear you, Father, in the noise. It is not that I think you can’t speak to me in loud cacophony. But I am so easily distracted by sound around me. I know, this morning–the stillness–drew me to you. You can use anything–and you desire everything to draw me to you. I wonder what atmosphere you like to inhabit most? What is your favorite place to be, Father? You must enjoy it all. Or, are there places or situations you don’t like?
In the margin of the paper, I write a little heart–to remind me, when I read this page again, where I wrote down my words–and what I heard God say back:
I don’t like distraction. I like focus and intentionality. I like rest and play and laughter. I like stillness, too.
I fill every space, child. Look what and where I inhabit. Practice turning, so your mind, so distracted, can fix itself on where I am. And your heart awakes. It knows what it wants and needs.
Within you, seek the quiet space, wherever you are. I love noise and music. I love the joyful calling of voices. I love praise.
You are most yourself and at peace in the inhabitance of praise.
In noise and in quiet, I can be present in all things. But it is the turning towards me, in all situations, which lets your mind be focused on me–so your heart and mind cannot help but praise. And in praise you are not distracted and you are most yourself. And when you are most yourself, you are free; you abide in freedom. And that freedom is my love.
It is no surprise that we crave things that feel scarce. And quiet, for many of us, can be one of those things. For me, quiet happens–but rarely. I fight for it during the day. I go to the studio in the backyard, where there is a big couch and my writing desk pushed right up against Justin’s. There’s a big windowed door that stretches across to the patio and there are tiny lights strung across the ceiling beams. This converted garage is one of the sanctuaries He’s given us, and we use it as a place of escape from noise–even as it doubles as a mini-gym and occasional video game haven, too, with our exercise equipment near the door.
And almost every day in the still, still quiet of early morning, I practice listening.
We need to do whatever it takes–and it will be different for each of us–to practice listening to God’s voice in our hearts. And as we listen, we are filled with praise. And when we praise, our hearts are turned to God. And we are most ourselves. And we are free.
The Father’s words encourage me to fight for whatever it is that will help me turn to him. He says, “In noise and in quiet, I can be present in all things.” But it is my choice, as his daughter, to practice turning.
I want more of that. How about you? How do you practice turning towards God? And will you join me in writing a poem, this week, in response to that time with Him? Or, write a poem about whatever is on your heart this day?
This is no small thing. Pause. Listen. Quiet your mind. Go deeper, to that deeper place within you. What words describe that place? What words give voice to how you feel? What you are seeing? What is He speaking within you? What is birthed from the quiet inside you, or in spite of it?
Share your poem below, as a comment, or with the lovely community over at Loop Poetry Project. Join here.