I am God.
~ Psalm 46:10
Even in the midst of so much hustle and bustle, we are surrounded by quiet places. It’s a helpful gift to our weary spirits when we remember to look.
When I seek out a moment of quiet, I am gifted most every time. I’m often surprised at how good it feels to step back step away and listen. I’m not listening for actual directions or guidance as much anymore. Instead, as odd as it may sound, I’m listening for the quiet. Listening beyond the noise. Listening for a holy presence.
Listening is for me a spiritual practice. It slows me down, calms my spirit, reconnects me. I feel these changes especially in these days when my heart is feeling both/and. Feeling the tender vulnerability of my deep sense of loss and feeling grateful for how blessed my life continues to be.
This is the season when we remind one another that we can bring light to the darkness. I'm grateful to drive through our neighborhood after work and see so many houses decorated with beautiful shining, colored lights. When I see the blues and greens and purples, I know that they shine brightest in the deepest dark. This season is also a time when simple answers are not helpful, and complicated ones wear me out. For many of us this is the time of meeting and companioning Christmases past and present.
So what are we listening for? Perhaps something comes to mind right away. Or perhaps it’s a struggle to imagine. Listening for quiet gives us all permission to take our time, to take this time. And how do we get there? Again, yours is a personal answer, yours is a personal journey. Some of the things that have been helpful for me in the past few days - lighting a candle, or listening for my breath, or standing outside on the cold night watching the moon. Each in its own way has led me to a place of gentle, thoughtful, intentional quiet.
If it’s waiting until your neighbors have gone to bed and crunching through the new snow, or finding a deserted place for a sunset or stopping and listening for your next breath... seek out an intention, your intention for quiet. It’s not listening for the what, it’s the open waiting that sits with the listening. It’s holding on with an open hand...and a quieted heart.
Working in Family Experience at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Lesley is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. She and her partner, Linda Ellis are raising their two sons, Brogan (now a freshman at Guilford College) and Sam at sophomore at DHS in Decatur, GA.