Wednesday, June 27, 2007

What were alone?

Be still and know that I am God!—Psalm 46:10
A few hours ago I kissed my son good-bye at the train station, and he took off on his Grand Adventure. He met my son-in-law David's younger brother in Chicago and now they are headed to my daughter and son-in-law's home in Florida, where they'll be working for David for a month. We joked about how I will have some practice being an empty-nester, though my daughter will be returning for a visit in another week. Still, I'm finding these first few hours have launched me into a foreign land. What will I do with the quiet and stillness?

Actually right now I'm enjoying the peacefulness, despite the sudden thunderstorm. I think it will be a little strange tonight when I go to bed and the cat and I are the only ones here. In fact I horrified myself a few minutes ago when while washing dishes I made an off-the-cuff remark to Mrs. Jinx. Oh, no, I thought. I'm not going to be one of those women who end up talking to their pets all the time!

What I hope, and pray, is that this becomes a time of prayerful solitude for me. If I can give up my feline dialogue then God's the one I'll be talking with and listening to more often. And in this very busy, chaotic, hectic world, how often we need that psalmist's voice reminding us to be still. Episcopal priest Renee Miller also points me in a beautiful empty-nest direction with her prayer:

O God, slow me down, let me breathe deeply, let me become as still as stone. Then in the hushed silence, speak to me.


Randee said...

Do you remember a few weeks ago when we were pondering a weekly day of silence?

Today, hasn't been a day of solid silence but a day of silence, none the less. I am resisting the urge to speak unless I must. (For instance, to communicate with my children.)

And, in this "day of silence", I am at rest. Not necessarily at complete peace but at rest. Knowing deeply that God is simply God and I am simply me.

I went to my Bible and came across this scripture:

For with your words you are acquitted and with your words you are condemned. (Matthew 12:37)

As I've meditated on this scripture today, I wondered...

Can we safely (and accurately) substitute "silence" for "words"?

For with your SILENCE you are acquitted and with your SILENCE you are condemned.

Acquitted. Condemned. Both powerful words on a powerful subject.

Something to ponder.

Anne said...

Randee, oh those are powerful words - "acquitted" "condemned", the the thing is that both words and silence, seemingly opposite attributes, can produce the same effect.

Yes, it's a powerful subject. When to speak, when to be silent? My prayers that your restfulness precedes peacefulness.

Shalene said...

Thank you Randee, for including us in with your children. (You were not silent to us.) :) And Anne, thank you for your post. Very touching and poignant. I almost long for the day! Much as I love my blessings. Thank you for the reminder that words, or silence, make no difference. It's what you do with them. Blessings, ladies.

Randee said...

I drew a line down the imaginary paper in my mind. On one side I labled "acquitted" and on the other I labeled "condemned". I began to ponder what might constitute acquittal and/or condemnation for silence.

Acquitted For Silence

Choosing silence over vindicating myself.

Choosing silence over engaging in gossip.

Choosing silence over empty flattery.

Condemned For Silence

Choosing silence over speaking up for a defenseless individual.

Choosing silence over speaking when God says speak.

Choosing silence out of fear not discernment.

My prayers are with you, sister, as you sample your empty nest. May the peace of the Lord be with you today and the tomorrows.

Randee said...

Shalene, I so wish to include my voice in the safety of The What If...? Women.

(Though writing for me is quite different than speaking. With the written word, I can delete and restart. Not so with the spoken word. Oh, how I wish the proverbial "delete" of many of my spoken words.)

I love you, ladies!

Lori Arriaga said...

I'd like to think that I would appreciate and make great use of the time I have alone by drawing closer to God when my kids leave home and not be bothered by the silence but just this past weekend both my kids spent the night at a neighbors and my husband worked a Saturday morning and I found myself going over there. So much for making good use of the silence and solitude.

Randee said...


I'd like to think the same thing of myself regarding embracing the silence and solitude. wouldn't surprise me a bit it my response copied yours. How I love them. How I'll miss them. Though, there are many times when I look forward to the singular time with my husband.

A few days ago an old friend called me. We hadn't spoken in about 7 years so we had a lot of catching up to do. She told me...Randee, think of how wonderful it is to be a mother and then multiply it by 10 times and you'll catch a glimpse into the wonder of being a grandmother.

With my children so small, I don't often think of grandparenthood. But...I believe that she is right. Time is so short. We'd do well to make the best of it, huh?

Anne said...

I think it would take me a stretch of time to start using my solitude in the best ways. Right now it will be computer time over housecleaning and a Lifetime movie over meditation perhaps. With teenage boys and one television there's just a bit of indulging I feel like doing at the moment. I've seen enough male survivor shows to last me. Routine needs to happen, and with routine comes a carving out time for silence with God. Right now, though, it's enjoying girl time and not wearing a bra! :)