Monday, April 24, 2006
"In repentence and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength,
but you would have none of it." Isaiah 30:15
"In some we regret a well-intentioned but feverish over-busyness, not completely grounded in our depths of peace. And we wish they would not blur the beauty of our souls by fast motion." Thomas Kelly, Testament of Devotion
"Too much of your nature is exposed to the winds that blow on it. You and I both need to withdraw more and more into the secret place." Amy Carmichael
One second of silence
like the soft, but powerful click of a pause button
in the blanketing warmth of the sun
like a blue and yellow canopy of lace . . .
This should all scream serenity
But my throat tightens
like the white knuckles before some head-on collision
The tears dive from my eyes
like desperate prisoners of a towering inferno
Why am I so scared of silence?
Have You not commanded me to
"be strong and courageous" (Joshua 1:9)?
But lately it feels more like
"my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer" (Psalm 32:4b)
Much more "like the horse or mule
which have no understanding
but must be controlled by bit and bridle" (Psalm 32:9)
Only, for me, it's the tick of the clock
and the ghost of perfection.
If You truly "satisfy us in the morning
with your unfailing love that we may sing for joy
and be glad all our days" (Psalm 90:14),
Then "Why are you downcast, O my soul,
Why so disturbed within me?" (Psalm 42:11)
How long will I be this "leaning wall or tottering fence"? (Psalm 62:3)
But is there pride in too much humility?
Like some knee-socked, hand-rasing child
who steps into that role of "the good kid"
like an over-sized wet suit
or slippers three sizes too big.
So, in this awkward silence, I come to You
Not for some scratch n sniff sticker approval from you
But just to meet You Lord
To be like David where
"my mouth is filled with your praise
declaring your splendor all day long." (Psalm 71:8)
Or like Christ who loved others to unspeakable measures
and told us "love your neighbor as you love yourself" (Matthew 19:19b).
But You are showing me a new twist on the golden rule.
For if I truly treated others as I treat myself,
I would never be allowed to treat myself this way
for the cause of some martyred cake of humility
Where blowing out the candles would be like
calling my students dumb
Or telling Lauren she's a bad little girl.
My stomach turns at the thought . . .
But to be Honest, Jesus,
If I am called to praise You with
"all my inmost being" (Psalm 102:1)
I'm afraid you might be disappointed in what I bring
like getting socks in your Christmas stocking
or nickels in your Halloween bucket.
I mean, do I really deserve to be
"crowned with love and compassion" (Psalm 103:4)
like some sausage curled porcelain princess
under some Brother's Grimm, pink and purple sky?
Thinking, I looked up at the cotton ball clouds just now
and read how "You make the clouds Your chariot
and ride on the wings of the wind" (Psalm 104:3)
So was that You that just tickled my face with my hair?
Or made the tree shadows dance like flowers on my paper?
How long has it been since I looked up?
Since I noticed these little behind the scenes blessings
that hide behind all the frenzy and the noise?
It hit me just now, Lord
"like a high wall, cracked and bulging,
that collapses suddenly in an instant . . .
in pieces like pottery shattered so mercilessly
that among its pieces not a fragment will be found" (Isaiah 30:13).
A fresh start, a new beginning,
like a child born or lemonade after mowing the grass.
"As the father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him" (Psalm 103:13)
I used to think of silence as
a jury of stern-faced citizens,
sealed lips and eyebrows drawn in like a slinky,
Or some frightening reality TV show
starring me as the fool
who palms the camera to "leave me alone!"
But You've shown me today, Lord,
the blessing of a noiseless moment
Much like a trip to some far off, salty coast
or a Thanksgiving meal
with those yeast rolls mom and I make together.
So next time, there will be no tightened throat
Or tear-sticky cheeks,
for I will feel You in the wind,
smile as You touch my face,
embrace You in the silence,
and finally let You love me.