The Beauty of Silence…

I’ve got a confession to make.  I’ve come to the realization that I think I’ve got a “frenemy.”  Maybe you too would be honest enough to admit that you have one of those in your life?  Both a friend and an enemy… the oxymoron of complicated relationships.  My frenemy, however, is not a person – but a spacial awareness in life that I find myself facing regularly and trying to battle through.  And that, my friends, is silence.

Silence is this awkward thing that not many of us seem to have much of these days.  This world is loud and clamors for our attention at every moment of every day.  From the constant invitations to connect that are coming to us all day long through our phones and social media, to the faster paced lifestyle that our grandparents never could have imagined, our calendars are full and so are our moments.  I’ve come to think it’s no wonder that when silence does present us with an invitation to sit with us for a while, it’s so easy to ignore it or push it away entirely.   It takes discipline, and I admire those people I’ve met who have developed that in this area.

I’m so guilty of pushing away the silence now more than ever.  Not only are my days currently full of work and parenting solo, but the little people in my home don’t really allow for me to have that much time to think quietly.  From the time their feet hit the ground in the morning, there are constant demands, giggles, and commentaries about their lives.  And when their feet get back into their beds at night, my mind is often so ready for some adult conversation, that a show or some time on social media is way more inviting to me than being quietly alone with my thoughts.  Furthermore, when you’ve been through grief and loss, thoughts may pop up at times that aren’t welcome where silence abounds, making that silence even a bit scary.

But recently, I started realizing what a disservice I was doing myself if I didn’t intentionally make time for quiet moments throughout my day.  I cannot be intentional about the way I live out my days if I don’t have time to think through the decisions I will make for those days.  I cannot move forward if I cannot have time to process the past.  I cannot reach my goals and dreams if I don’t have any time to think about why and when I want to accomplish them.  And most importantly, I cannot have enough time to spend with my Savior if I don’t allow silence to be a regular part of my day, where I can stop talking and just listen for His still small voice that isn’t often heard in the noise.

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Mother Teresa said, “We need to find God, and He cannot be found in noise and restlessness.  God is the friend of silence.  See how nature – trees, flowers, grass – grows in silence; see the stars, the moon, and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls.”   

And so, I’m choosing to embrace the silence – even when it hurts, when it makes me feel isolated, and when it would be so much easier to keep drowning out.  Because if God is the friend of silence, then I need to make silence my friend too.

And after all, isn’t a friend way more fun to have along than a frenemy?

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Thanksgiving blessings…

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Just like that, another Thanksgiving is upon us.  (Does anyone else feel like this year flew by?) For those who have experienced loss, this can be such a bittersweet time of counting our blessings, yet feeling that ache of missing those no longer with us that churns in our hearts a little stronger around holidays.  We are definitely feeling it, but there is still so much to be grateful for, and I always want to try to let gratitude be our focus.  It’s becoming a tradition that I pick 5 random things I’m thankful for to share here on the blog, so here goes for this year:

  1. Friends who have my back.  There are these very special people, and you know who you are, who continue to come alongside our family and serve and love us so well – verbally reminding us that you are there for the long haul.   You ask how I really am, you often know what I need before I know myself, and you let me just be real and honest in sharing how difficult this journey I’m on really is some days.  You remind me that my Heavenly Father hasn’t forgotten us and show us His love in such sweet tangible ways. For all of this I’m so so grateful.
  2. Air conditioning. One recent night of going without it in the southern heat reminded us that we really do take this blessing for granted so often.  I don’t know what I would do without AC, but I wouldn’t be really enjoyable to be around, between my sweat and probable grumpiness.  And yet, to some it’s a rarity that they may never be able to afford.  So yes, I’m very grateful.
  3. My kids. I know I’m biased, but I truly believe I have some of the bravest and kindest kids on the planet… and it’s not because of anything I’ve done.  Instead, they are the ones reminding me to be brave and kind by the way they treat me.  They are a lot of work to parent, but boy, are they a joy.  God is so good to give me these three amazing gifts to cherish each day and give me the honor of being their mom.
  4. The gift of words. Whether sung in a sweet song, read in a good book, written in a thick and personal journal, or heard in a good movie… I love words so much. And I think I keep loving them more and more these days, judging from the stack of books that’s always awaiting my attention.  Words inspire me to be a better person and to keep learning and growing.  Through them I express myself to my Savior and He shares His heart with me.   I know that words have the power to build up or break down, and they cut pretty deep when they wound – but there is so much incredible good that can be done through them too.  What a gift words continue to be to me.
  5. Jesus.  Of course it’s obvious, and yet, as I get older, I feel like there are more and more layers to my relationship with Him that He continues to deepen and allow me to enter.  I’m seeing Him more and more as my true best friend, through His laying down His life so that I have the awareness of perfect love.  I’m so thankful that He accepts me how I am and that  I never have to fix myself up to be near and honest before Him.   All that makes me incredibly thankful.

 

The list could go on and on, but these are the five I’m picking for today.  I hope you’ll join me in using this coming Thanksgiving week to slow down a little and take the time to reflect on our numerous blessings that are truly immeasurable.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

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When the carving brings hope…

A few weeks ago, we sat down like so many other American families this time of year, to invest a night in the activity of carving pumpkins.  Now, you must understand that I make this incorrect assumption every year when we buy pumpkins and plan our carving night… that is, I tell myself that my kids are old enough to do the carving now.  I know.  Faulty.  But to justify my thoughts, my kids do … {…Read More}

The beauty of the slow brew…

I will never forget the way our house used to smell each morning after I brewed a pot of coffee. It wasn’t just any old brand of coffee, either. This was coffee made of rich Ethiopian beans that we would get through a company supporting fair trade and small business opportunities in developing countries. And, as an extra bonus, five dollars of every bag bought went to help fund our pending adoption. B never really enjoyed … {…Read More}

Why we should all keep walking…

I don’t know what it is about walking, but it’s really enjoyable for me. And I feel like I don’t do enough of it. Walking is an easy task in and of itself, but it can sometimes be laborious too. You can set out for a walk eager to get some exercise, and come back home exhausted due to the length of the walk you took. Of course, now that I’m trying to train for … {…Read More}

When birthdays become life lessons…

Calling all the mamas out there today… Yes, you, with the child you feel like you are constantly disciplining for the same old reason.  The one who wears you out with the way you have to stay on top of them with a balance of discipline and love, wishing you could just love without the discipline for just one day.  Isn’t disciplining so exhausting?  It wears me out and makes me long for a day … {…Read More}

Like a conquering hero…

  Last weekend, the kids and I got tickets to go watch our local orchestra perform for next to nothing.  We got great seats and sat back to listen to an amazing performance of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony… which, in case you didn’t realize, is actually more than the “Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee” part we all know well.  70 whole minutes, in fact.  While the kids started squirming a bit, I tried to follow the … {…Read More}

When loneliness becomes a gift…

I’m back.  But it feels like I should write that as, I’m baaaaaaack.  Because it seems like forever since I’ve written a blog post.  I’ve missed it, not because anyone out there really needs to read what I have to say, but because I feel like I need to write.  It’s this push in my heart, but there are seasons and breaks and busyness and things that get in the way. For us, it was … {…Read More}

A call to gratitude (and a book review)

My least favorite time of year, when it comes to parenting my kids, is when the toy catalogs come out.  Right around when the holiday decorations start being seen around town, our mailbox starts overflowing with its own décor – catalogs galore.  And not just any catalogs, but catalogs that appeal to little people with big eyes.  Eyes that are prone to see all that they don’t have, that their friends do. We are blessed … {…Read More}

Thirsty

You’ve probably seen those little cartoons floating around Face book with the older style graphics in them of people saying various things like “Everyone’s talking about the holidays, and I’m just sitting over here wondering how to get through Halloween without eating all of my kids’ candy.”  Well, maybe that’s not quite it – just my take on it – but you get the idea. 🙂 So here we are in January again, after yet … {…Read More}