From The Silent Place

silenceIt may seem strange to speak of silence when one is a mother of four precious jibber-jabbering children, all under the age of eleven, in anything other than a sighing-longing way.  Amazingly, I am immersed in it (when Henrik deigns to nap, that is).

Since closing down my Facebook a while back, the reams and reams of information, quips, photos, and humorous bits which I plowed through each day have disappeared.  In their wake, silence.  I didn’t know how anyone was doing, or what they were doing, and no one knew my news either, unless I called, emailed, or got together with them.

My habits have been startled; before, when I’d read a particularly striking quote or passage in a book, I’d earmark it for sharing on Facebook.  I wanted to share the nugget I found and hear others’ feedback on it.  Now I read that line and am struck and I look up from the page.  I still want to share it, I still want to discuss it, so I memorize it.  I swallow it in and make it part of me, so that I can, by word spoken, share it.  I am chewing on words, rather than handing them off right away.

Also, “checking the computer” takes all of five minutes.  Reading and responding to the few emails that trickle in and catching up on the major news stories…and…..done. I close the laptop and look around.  There’s nothing more to see here, people, move along.

silence1  In the meantime, in this wider silence, I find myself quieting too.  Almost like that feeling when you step into a lofty empty cathedral and the quiet urges a stilling of the tongue, urges a listening and an awe.

What is God teaching me in this valley, this quiet, dark, valley?  I don’t know, but I beg Him in whispers for wisdom, humility, selflessness, and mercy.  For Him to burn out the weeds in my heart and plant life-giving things.  For all the soul-killing sins to be yanked into the spotlight and named that I might reject them full in the face, with no turning aside.  That sort of stuff.

And in this time, Baby grows in the deep, nearly the size of a kumquat, but with a soul as large as any, in the secret place.  And I pray to be a wiser, more humble, more gentle mama today, tomorrow, and when I meet this wee one face-to-face, smiling.

Wisdom, Humility, and Facebook

It is not to my credit that I seem utterly incapable of making minor changes, but only large and drastic ones.  If I am told to favor my right foot, you shall soon find me hopping on my left foot.  If I am found to be absorbed in television, I will not own one for fifteen years.  Cold turkey is my modus operandi.  Maybe it is because I distrust myself exceedingly; afraid I may persuade myself soothingly back into bad habits and sins one reasonable excuse at a time.

My husband laughed at me yesterday.  I had asked him to “pass me my book, please”.  He laughed, “Which one?”  I had to laugh too.  Within my sight at present are nine books of all sorts of genres and depth, and I am reading them all concurrently.  It is my version of flipping channels I suppose.  Anyways, this morning I’d chosen “Water From A Deep Well-Christian Spirituality From Early Martyrs to Modern Missionaries” by Gerald Sittser.  I read the following in a chapter relating to how the early monastics viewed struggle:

“The self always dies hard,” Martin Luther once said.  It dies hard because it resists giving up habits of mind and body that satisfy immediate desires but in the long run destroy the life of the soul.  However much it resists, the self must still die.  It will die as we struggle against the world, the flesh, the devil, and the darkness within.  We must submit to this struggle when it is imposed on us through difficult circumstances; we must choose to struggle when God calls us to discipline our appetites, resist temptations that threaten to undermine the good work he wants to do in us, and confess our egoism.

Immediately to my mind came the distractive nature of my use of Facebook, and more than that, how it “satisfies immediate desires” with joyful little red notifications, and successive “likes” to propel my ego through the day.  Note here, I am not vilifying social media, nor Facebook itself, only my own sin in seeking from it what I should have only sought in the Father, approbation.  Worth.

I reread that passage a number of times.  I wondered how it would change me if only God knew what I was up to throughout my day; to live as I’ve heard it said, “as for an audience of One”.  A spark of joy was lit within, which is a rather big deal in my current valley of darkness.  Would that focus aid me in deeper study, more attentive prayer, and more present presence?  I promptly deactivated my account.  Why I did not delete it entirely is because, again, I distrust myself exceedingly.  I cannot claim to know now what level the Father will allow or lead me in the future to interact via Facebook.  I only know that for now I’m called away.

It feels quite counterintuitive.  To be walking on a darkened road with a helpful and cheering friend, only to be told, “excuse your companion who has been helpful to you”.  The only way this would make sense is if God Himself wished to have me more to Himself.  Okay then.

Two virtues have been held before me as twin desires of my heart:  wisdom and humility.  They are often hard to hold within the same person.  Humility is such a flighty virtue, and, as I’ve heard it said, “once you think you’ve attained it, you’ve lost it”.  I wish to grow in both of these, and where can I go for them but to the Father?  Please pray for me; I do sincerely wish to grow, to become like Christ, to die to self, and to find all my joy in the Father’s love.