I have found myself in the same place almost every night for the past 4 years: the rocking chair in my son’s room. First it was putting my eldest to sleep, now it is with my youngest. I have come to love that place. It is a space separate from the rest of the world. The lights are dimmed, the door closed, the noise machine turned to the “rain” setting. There are no distractions, no outside voices, no to-do lists. It’s just me and my son, reading together and singing lullabies.
There came a day with my youngest, when he was around a year old, that I begged my husband to try putting him to sleep. “He doesn’t need to nurse!” I exclaimed. My husband agreed to take over and I tore off to the living room with the intensity of William Wallace, yelling “Freedom!”. The lyrics of Edelweiss softly floated down the hallway from the baby room, as I sat on the couch listening. All of a sudden I wanted to be back there, in that place, with my son. I craved the peace and solitude the experience provided to me, in a way that the rest of my life did not. I’ve been putting my youngest to bed most nights ever since. Though, like a fool, I rush through the routine more often than not.
Similar to those feline animals, I seek out places of warmth, of seclusion, in every location I am in. I stand at my kitchen window at 10 am as the morning sun pours in, eyes closed, feeling its’ heat on my face. I escape to my bedroom at 4:30pm, knowing the sun will be coming through the windows just then. I choose the table in the coffee shop that directly faces the sun, positioning my seat so the heat falls on my face just so. My husband thinks I’m insane. He turns his back to it, hates the squinting, attempts to close the blinds. I won’t let him. I can barely see but I love the warmth.
These moments leave me wanting more. The sun shifts and I try to follow it, like any cat would, but soon its’ path moves elsewhere. Out of my windows’ reach. Time speeds on and I must be tending to breakfast, rushing my 3 year old to preschool, frantically searching for sneakers and backpacks and that blasted other mitten. My moments are precious, like anyone’s. A quiet one is no sooner seized than interrupted. I am rushing so often – to write another post, respond to another e-mail, wash another load of laundry, prep for another dinner, to buy another carton of milk.
But my heart is always longing for the peace, the stillness, the warmth.
“In a culture where busyness is a fetish and stillness is laziness, rest is sloth. But without rest, we miss the rest of God: the rest he invites us to enter more fully so that we might know him more deeply. ‘Be still, and know that I am God.’ Some knowing is never pursued, only received. And for that, you need to be still.” (Mark Buchanan)
How do I find stillness, even amidst the things that need to be done? Some knowing is never pursued, only received. How do we release ourselves from all the striving and constant doing, so that we can be open to receiving?
I am desperately wanting to hear truth. Yet my listening is poor when I keep myself too busy.
Who am I, in that well-known story of the two sisters?
“Mary sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was busy with all the things that had to be done. She came to Jesus and said, ‘Lord, my sister has left me to do the work by myself. Don’t you care? Tell her to help me!’
‘Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered. ‘You are worried and upset about many things. But only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better. And it will not be taken away from her.’ (Luke 10:39-42)
I am trying to keep my focus, on that one thing that is needed, but God knows how hard it is. With all the distractions and my foolish, preoccupied heart. Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it.
But I keep running back to the Light. To the Source of it all. Knowing there is patience there, even with me. Knowing there are promises there, even for me.
“Ask, and it will be given to you. Search, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened to you. Everyone who asks will receive. He who searches will find. The door will be opened to the one who knocks.” (Matthew 7:7-8)