Have you ever searched for….. that still, quiet place of utter bliss? That place where you can gather your thoughts and focus on what is most important, rather than all that is urgent? That place where you can commune with your creator and leave refreshed and full of peace? I needed to find this place, and was reminded (by a three year old) where to find it.
Life around here lately has been anything but quiet. (Thus, my hiatus from writing) In February, our oldest daughter, son-in-law and their three children put their house on the market. They need to move closer to the city in order to be closer to their ministry. Their house sold immediately (good news) and the buyers wished to move in the following month (March.) Our kids had no place to live…so we invited them to move in with us while they searched for a house.
After a difficult search they found a place, however the sellers of their new place are not able to move out until the end of July. Oh, did I mention our kids also have a dog named Reilley? (More to come on him in future posts.) Seven humans, three dogs and one house make for a lively and loud place of abode. One of the most “special” moments comes when one of the children cries. Reilley, at the sound of a child in distress, howls at the top of his lungs. This sparks our little dog to join in to make a duet…no, make that a trio (one crying child and two howling dogs.) It is quite something to behold. If I catch this moment on video it is sure to go viral. I’ve never heard anything quite like it. And Reilley barks… a lot.
Honestly, it has been fun and a true joy to spend this time together as extended family. I love my family and am so grateful for all of them. However, to be honest, I sometimes just long for quiet.
Now that it’s spring I can go outside. But wait…. when I go outside things get even louder. Our house is at the end of a dead end street, abutting a park. Tennis courts and soccer fields are directly across the street from our front yard. When we moved to this house years ago this was a quiet park. Now, the whole town shows up here. High school tennis matches (complete with big yellow busses parked in our front yard,) soccer meets, lacrosse games, softball games and accompanying practices happen here every day in the spring and fall. Sometimes, when I step outside, I feel like I’m arriving at a carnival.
I read (with new vigor) about a day in the life of Jesus as captured in the first few chapters of the gospel of Mark. I stand in awe of Jesus’ compassionate, giving and selfless ways. In this account, after being with people everywhere, he tried to get to a quiet place to pray only to be met with more people needing his healing touch. He kept his purpose in clear view…as he kept giving to people and preaching the good news. I find his attitude and actions deeply convicting, yet utterly inspiring. I long to react like him more often, and to be continually filled with his love ( which he promises to pour into my heart when I run out -thank you!)
And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. Rom. 5:5
(read the verses before and after as well. They are super helpful)
So, back to the lesson from a three year old. Sunday afternoon my three year old grandson rode home with us from church. While we were in traffic, he marveled at all of the “quiet wilderness” outside. Amidst the traffic, he was looking at trees on the side of the rode. This reminded me of a similar time I was with him last year. We were amidst a group of people in someone’s yard and he stepped just a few steps away from the group, across the lawn into an adjacent vacant lot dotted with some trees. He called me over, looked up at me and asked me to listen as he said, “Nana, sshhhhh….we are in the quiet wilderness.”
I reflected on this lesson and how close the “quiet wilderness” can be to us even when we are in loud, crazy conditions. The “quiet wilderness” can be steps away and yet we can miss it. (The “quiet wilderness” could have been a bathroom at work, a closet, the car…) With that thought in mind, I went into my room closed my door to pray. Alas, I came out to put barking Reilley in his crate….then went back to try to put into practice the scriptures:
He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, Psalm 23:2
“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. Psalm 46:10
“The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love….” Zeph. 3:17
Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” Mark 6:31
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Mt. 11:28-29
When I came out of my “quiet wilderness” I was finally able to quit feeling sorry for myself. I was once again refreshed and at peace. I’m thankful a little child reminded me to go to the “quiet wilderness” and that Jesus was waiting there for me.