Sunday, August 9, 2015

The Voice in Fragile Silence

Pairing my favorite writing music, Chopin, with the sound of the summer rain, I made my way to the front porch this morning. Picking up my pen, journal, coffee and Bible along the way, I sat quietly waiting for actual words to translate from thought to ink on the page. As the dogs played in the rain (or avoided it all together), the words came in waves like the sprinkle to deluge coming from the sky. Today, this is my time of quiet.

It’s hard to be quiet, not meaning the absence of sound, but the stilling of my mind and heart. I choose to put aside my things to-do, things to think through and things to plan out. Distractions are numerous, roosting in the tree in front of me and singing a siren song of urgency, people, prayers, must-dos, needs, when am I going to-dos, whys, how comes, contingency plans and don’t forgets. Each feathered member of the flock is chirping in my mental ear, saying pay attention to me because I’m important. And, they are – but in the scale of priorities, this must rank higher.

This time is when I consciously choose to seek the gentle whisper of a voice in a fragile silence that is easy to miss. My spirit craves this time, my heart is strengthened by its power. Why? What happens? As I sit here, it would appear to be a time that is nothing more miraculous than the goodness of another day. But, it is when I am quiet in mind and heart I can hear God’s voice best. 


Though not an audible voice, he makes himself heard nonetheless. Like sitting in companionable silence with a friend, this is a comfortable place to be this morning. I can trust the words my friend, my God, says. He waits and encourages me to listen, an act of love. This is where I am stretched and challenged to be more like Christ. This is where I can run when the journey is too much for my strength. This is where I can turn when I am broken over the cry of my heart. This is my place of navigational refocus when I am stymied on which path to take, especially when there are many great options available. This is where I am redirected when I have made poor choices. This is my greatest place of praise, celebrating those abundant everyday miracles.

And the response of that gentle whisper, many times it feels like the answer Elijah hears, “What are you doing here,” from 1 Kings 19:9b. Different emphasis can be placed on distinct words in that question and subtly change the meaning.
                What are you doing here?
                                What are you doing here?
                                                What are you doing here?
                                                                What are you doing here?
                                                                                What are you doing here?
I find my responses to this question come in the same starts and stops as the writing does, as I pause to think through each phrase. Praise, friendship, connectedness, supplication, restoration, protection, hope, the need to hear that voice – The Voice, that is my motivation. That is why I am here.

I say the silence is fragile because it can be easily broken. It demands a discipline and desire from me to actively step away from my calendared, socially connected world of IMs, emails, texts, posts and messages to focus elsewhere. It is time for me to listen and hear from the most important messenger, to hear from God.