Quiet Times

a repost from the archives friends, while I rest with the sniffles…thanks for stopping in to cheer me with the red nose and watery eyes! 
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.
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 day and night with noise, even beautiful noise. Allow him no time to think, to muse, to ponder, to wonder. 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.
With sweet Emily tonight:

And Beautiful Bonnie too:



  1. says

    Thank you for your comment on my post. My response there now resonates again here after reading this post. I hear such life-giving rhythms of peace in your voice.

    As His instrument, you are part of His moving. In many ways.

    Thank you for the quiet tug of your post. I like that you recognize that even beautiful noise still makes noise.

    We must carve with our hearts, using the sharp edge of our ears. But to get the job done, our hands must be clinging to something strong — like a stone or a sticky note.

  2. says

    A cold will certainly take the busy-ness off the idol possibilities list. I just relearned this recently. So sorry you’re sniffling now. Prayers for healing and rest and quiet for you, beautiful lady.
    Also, I love the description of your Saturday mornings. You and the birds and the feeding for all.

  3. says

    hug and a prayer for you Laura. =) Glad you are taking time to recover…
    this is so true… just to take the time to remember and be still enough for connection to take place. I often purposely turn my face as though I were looking at him eye to eye.

  4. says

    I wonder if I took five times a day to pray, what would that do to my life? WOuld I see it as obligation, or would it make my life more reflective, more responsive to God?

  5. says

    I do hope you feel better soon.

    I knew a missionary who served in Afghanistan, and he adopted the Muslim method of praying five times a day as part of his witness. He said it really transformed his relationship with God.

  6. says

    it is so hard to find this quiet with two little boys, and so, i’ve stopped listening to music when i run, in hopes of hearing God. and he’s always there waiting for me, and i hope to one day learn to hear him admist, or even in, the sound of children’s voices. this really ministered to me tonight, laura. you are a kindred spirit. i pray you feel well soon. xo

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