In the Quiet

I have class all day today, friends. So this morning I’m revisiting some thoughts from the archives. Thinking about quiet moments…

I like to fill my bird feeders at first light on Saturdays. After morning readings, I sit at the kitchen table with my coffee and watch winged poetry through the bay. I am always rewarded with the vibrant reds of the cardinals, the spritely black caps of chickadees, and serenading sparrow song. Sometimes the shy flicker stops by, clinging to the feeder with grasping toes, red mustache jauntily twitching under curved bill.

I never tire of their antics and often grieve to leave my window–reluctant to begin the noise of the day. Their light-filled movements are music to me; in the watching my mind finds rest.

Matthew Kelty, in his book Flute Solo: Reflections of a Trappist Hermit, says that quiet moments such as these are the substance of an intimate relationship with God.
day and night with noise, even beautiful noise. Allow him no time to think, to muse, to ponder, to won

We all need contact with our hearts. Without that contact we are isolated from truth, divorced from reality. Quiet is certainly one of the ways to that contact. And peace. I suspect seriously that the single most effective weapon of Satan in our times is noise. I cannot think of a better way to alienation and loss of religion. Fill a man der. Fill his air with sound, his ears with din. His heart will die soon enough. Now you have broken him. He can no longer love.

I know not one who has not felt that brokenness.

Busy-ness is an idol in our culture. This is the way of multi-tasking, batch projects–of stretching our umbrella, extending our reach.

Not a bad way in and of itself. In fact, it can be quite a good way.

But I must not lose the quiet moment in each task; I must not miss the heart connection.

And that is the tricky part, no? To hear His voice above the din…to see beauty in the ordinary.

There is something to the Muslim practice of salat–the obligatory rite of their religion that requires prayer five times a day, at specified times. In this way, the mind is trained to quiet–to focus on God.

As a Christian I wonder at such measures. I know that Christ’s death on the cross eliminated the need for ritual and ceremony when I approach God. The veil was torn. Yet, my human condition makes me susceptible to caressing this skin…forgetting the divine and leaning on flesh.

And so I make my own reminders.

A stone in my pocket. A jewel around my neck. A scripture scribbled on a sticky note.

Not incredibly inventive. Certainly not iconic. But each, when caressed by a finger or held in the palm, ushers me into His presence.

And I am reminded that my flesh has been cleansed. The string that ties my heart to Him becomes tangible. I am strengthened.

The quiet is restored. I hear his voice above the din.

And the day becomes holy.


  1. says

    I am SO grateful you posted this beautiful and true post today, Laura. I am thinking a lot these days about the definition of holy, what is holy? Your words here illuminate all that holy is indeed.

    And thank you, friend, for your lovely comment over at Emily’s place. Love you!

  2. says

    You and I must crave the same things…this post seems like a combination of my two books: Contemplative Mom (in which I suggest reminders to quiet my heart and soul before God, like a stone in the pocket or jewelry with a word of Scripture) and Not So Fast (in which I question the busyness of our culture and how it impacts us in so many ways, especially spiritually).

    May you have some quiet moments this weekend to watch the birds, to restore the quiet, to still your souls and to listen to the Lord.

  3. says

    I love the quiet too. I used to wake up and turn the tv on and listen to the news and drink my coffee, now I just listen to the hum of the furnace and sip my coffee and be still. At least for a small while. It is good. The news will always be there, the shows are not needed in the day, a quiet meditative heart is needed. Thank you for the reminder, take care.

  4. says

    Laura, I hopped online for a bit and wanted to let you know I got your package. The little “extra” was so beautiful. I just read through the scriptures and cried. Thank you for being a blessing and may you be blessed by His sweet presence in a special way today…Lots of love to you, dear friend.

  5. says

    I like to have little reminders of “just who I am”

    I have a simple picture of a deep forest on my desk that reminds that I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

    I have a cross on my dashboard to remind me that God saved me (and contines to save me from others :)!)

    I have a notepad in my pocket, to remind me that God can speak to me anytime and I better be ready

  6. says

    I just found your blog Laura and I love this post. Isn’t it true that as we sit in quiet and watch God’s creatures they lead us right to him? It is a struggle to find that quiet time each day, especially when our days are filled with ‘good’ things. But you are right, in the stillness of our hearts is where he dwells. I look forward to reading more of your posts.

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