Thursday, April 14, 2016

Dreaming of Silence

1999.
London.
Some very old cathedral whose name escapes me.
Candles, darkness, stillness.
Community.
Peace.

The first time I remember ever experiencing contemplation. Intentional stillness. Breathing in prayers.

It was a small taste of many more experiences to come. Staff retreats, personal times of solitude, early morning intentional quiet before the sun (and my children) rise.

But it's elusive these days.

Don't get me wrong. I like to be on the move. People look at you like you're five kinds of crazy when you are out and about with three boys. They assume you are run ragged all day long. And I am.

But I happen to like exercise. And games of chase, hide-and-go-seek, endless games of soccer and catch. I like the movement. The noise level, maybe not so much, but I don't mind never sitting still with them.

I do, however, miss quiet and contemplation and slowing down intentionally, particularly in community. There's not a lot of time to get to our church's contemplative service right now. It's at dinner time on a Sunday, when it's Defcon 5 around here and we hit survival mode with all hands on deck until bedtime.  I could go to a women's bible study at a local church if my child's nap would cooperate, but really that's just more input. More words and noise right now. I like to chew on my pastor's sermon all week and read alone...but my brain can't take too much more information at the moment. It's filled up on so much. Sensory books. Parenting books. Sermons. Worship prep. Therapy plans for the middle child.

And as I've begun to think about what "yeses" I can say when we move, I'm wondering if there will be a place, a space, just in the middle of the week, maybe mid-morning. A place where child-care is offered and men and women can gather in quiet, in contemplation. Maybe it's led by someone, maybe it's just an open time to come, be, listen, breathe. Maybe it doesn't exist yet. Maybe it can.

I don't know.

But I'm dreaming of it.

One time a week, where harried people (parents or not) can come and contemplate the glory of our God. Soak in the stillness and calm of His Spirit. Bask in the love of His Son.

I long for it. I cannot be the only one who does.

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