“When we make room for silence we make room for ourselves … Silence invites the unknown, the untamed, the wild, the shy, the unfathomable – that which rarely has a chance to surface within us.”
Gunilla Norris, Sharing Silence
We have slowed. After ten years of marriage and as many in youth ministry, after three kids, three houses, two books, lots of trips and a year-long heartbreak, my family has slowed to near stopping. The kids are still in school, the dinners still are made. But The Man has been gifted some time away from work and I have met the book deadlines and now we slow. And we are slowed. And so we wait.
We have never been the parents to have our kids in lots of activities. We are not the first to volunteer and we don’t typically overcommit with yes. Still, even for us, this slowing has revealed my addiction to activity in a way I didn’t expect. We think of war as something obvious and perhaps valiant, something for the brave and heroic. But maybe the most deadly is the war invisible, the one we live everyday without knowing, the one we forget to fight because it looks like home and it smells like dish soap and it sounds like a rerun of Friends in the background.
An invitation has gone out but only the desperate can hear it. What is it you truly seek? I’m not sure the words expect an answer, rather they invite us to carry our questions with us. Let them percolate and roll around in the chaos of the soul. Don’t fear the loose ends so much. Give yourself permission to actually be where you are, and to be so in the presence of God.
I never realized how much energy I spend in figure it out mode. I am fascinated by people, by what makes us come alive, wilt, break, desire, lash out and love. In some ways it makes me a better artist, this social curiosity. But in all the figuring and connecting of dots, I might be missing the point. Slowing invites the mystery to make His home with us. Quiet cuts a path through the chaos in a way study and figuring and reasoning simply can’t touch. The Man and I pray with silent hope. He looks into my eyes and his gaze lingers. He sees me now and I see him and we are filled with gratitude for both the sweet gifts as well as the suffering. Because all of them lead us deeper into the mystery.
And so it is December, the month of Emmanuel – God With Us. He does not wait to come until we get it right, clean it up, figure it out, or break it down. He is simply with us in love. I have to ask, though I don’t necessarily expect an answer (unless you want to give one): in the most honest place where you are today, what is it you truly seek?