It's quiet in my house. Quiet is a rare experience in my world - both internally and externally.
The noises that populate my external world are heavy footsteps running up the stairs, the microwave beeping, laughter turned to bickering and back to laughter, dishes rattling, car doors slamming and 'good nights' yelled across hallways. These are the sounds of life and family and growing up.
Internally the noise is very different. It's a constant whirring of my brain trying to sort out my life. It's a cycling of what-ifs and worries and hopes. It's the sound of chaos and I hate it. But today the whirring stopped. Or maybe it stopped yesterday. It could have stopped last week, even. I'm not sure when, really. I just know that today it's quiet.
Ages ago, Christine Caine delivered a message where she talked about our lives being like an arrow; in order to be launched forward we need to experience the tension of being pulled back. That's how I feel. I feel like I have lived in the tension of being pulled back, of being readied for what's next. This tension felt terrible. It was uncomfortable and a key cause of the whirring. In this tension I struggled with the feeling of being left behind while knowing that there's always a 'What's Next'. I had to learn to be present in the tension. To learn from it. To rest in it. I had to learn to find quiet in the waiting. And I did.
During the last several months I have learned to trust my silence, to be at peace with the tension and to be confident in my own truth. Sounds kind of New Agey but its what I know to be true. I have always been intrigued with the Bible verse Luke 2:19
But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
I'm a verbal processor and my first instinct is to talk out whatever is happening in my life with someone wiser and more experienced. So how is it Mary, a young teen with the Savior of the World growing supernaturally inside of her, could just sit with that truth and ponder it on her own? How could she trust herself to understand it? How could she even breathe in that tension? How could she trust herself in that situation when I second guess myself in every situation?
And now it's quiet.
It's quiet enough that I can breathe. I can think. I can listen. I can feel compassion. I can sense direction. I can speak with my eyes, with my heart, when words are inadequate. I can sit in my aloneness and be at peace with myself. I can hear another's truth without questioning my own truth.I can see there is space for both, space for all.
This week I participated in a conversation on race, oppression and faith. It happened over the course of three days and was facilitated by the marvellous Idelette McVicker. During this conversation, the 20 participants shared their stories and listened, listened deeply, with compassion, to the stories of others. I am profoundly changed by what I heard and what I learned this week. It's hard to even talk about it because it was so sacred and so raw. I can't even.
There are two things that echoed in the circle and surrounded it while we shared. It was the linked ideas of Deep Listening and Ubuntu. Deep Listening is the idea that we enter the conversation with the intention of listening with compassion and without judgement. Our role is to simply listen so that the teller's suffering may be heard and somehow lessened by our compassionate listening. Ubuntu is the idea of community. It is "I am because we are." It is the recognition that our stories, though different, are linked. This is what I heard in the quiet.
So, it's quiet. I sit in the quiet, pondering like Mary, trusting that God is in this place of tension and that whatever comes next will come when I am ready. I sit, ready to listen with compassion and respond with grace. I hear Ubuntu in my heartbeat. It's strong, it's alive and it is in the quiet.
As I am in the Quiet.