I was sitting on a bench trying to make out a song I heard coming from a truck across a parking lot. I was waiting on a message.
As I walked the dog today, I asked God to open the door to my heart and come in for a while and speak. It had been a busy month, full of noise and distractions, and I found I retreated from chaos and worry into even more sound in the form of screens and other noise. It’s dumb. I’m not sure when I will learn the lesson that just about everything I need can be found in silence.
Sitting there, I thought that distant song, fueled by a construction truck battery, might contain the encouragement or direction I needed. Stranger things have happened, after all, and I could almost make out a Creed lyric or even more strangely, Bay City Rollers, but it was a whisper of a sound, a puzzle I couldn’t complete from too far away.
I’m always looking for direction, and I long for the completion of things. I want everything to be settled, and they almost never are. My Dad has an almost spiritual practice of ‘checkmarks’…he loves getting things in the ‘done’ column, even the smallest things, and so do I. My father tells the story of the time he told his Dad that he was dying. It was a terrible thing to have to do and say, and my Dad was nervous. His father responded with something like, “Everything in our life has been about family. You and your brother are both married to nice women and you have beautiful families. What more could I ask for?” My grandfather was feeling the completion of things, a final checkmark.
As I worry and fret, surrounded by noise, I am frantic for checkmarks. I have a literal one on paper for my college-age son to complete before he moves back to school. I am clearing out clutter in my house and aiming for calm, checking things off with each project. I have so many things I wish to be settled, all around me and within me, but that’s not how life works, is it? Not on this side of things anyway. Everything is in flux, all the time, and it’s okay so long as we can take a step back and see that there actually is some order to it all. I had a moment like that today, and I am grateful for it.
On that bench today, frustrated by the fragment of hard rock I couldn’t quite make out, I closed my eyes and instead heard birds singing. I felt sun on my face. I felt my creaky, crumbly heart open just enough to let God in to speak and this is what He said.
“I will never leave you nor forsake you. I love you more than you know.
Have courage and trust me, good things are coming.”
And for this moment, in the silence that is not so very quiet at all, I believe it. And it’s enough.
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