Finding Places of Silence

This picture was taken on my folks’ place in Colorado. We had seen the deer a ways from the house and Dad told me to jump on the snowmobile an we would go try to get pictures.  I jumped on behind him, holding on to the snowmobile with one hand and the camera with the other. His camera. His nice camera.

I checked the speedometer one time and was surprised to know how quickly we could get up to 50 miles an hour. We found the spot the deer had dodged into the brush by the river and followed them on foot. I felt like a National Geographic photographer. Except my pictures were not completely in focus. Still, I did get this one and I never dropped the camera, so I’m happy.

This place is a place of peace. The deer come through and graze, even coming up to the house to munch on the apples from the apple tree. Dad has buried a few of his beloved pets under the apple trees. There is a river that runs through the property and the sunsets are wonderful. For the most part the place is quiet. It is easy to steal away to the river, or even just out to the porch, and collect your thoughts.

My house isn’t quite like this. There are, I believe, 17 children and youth under the age of 17 on our cul-de-sac. There are lots of neighborhood dogs. Who like to bark. There are x-box games and computer games and soccer games and glorious games played only in the mud. There is noise. Lots of noise. There is no river to sit beside and no easy access to quiet.

And yet sometimes I am very aware of that need for a moment of silence. Madeleine L’Engle (yes, her again!) tells it this way:

“Vacuum cleaners are simply something more for me to trip over; and a kitchen floor, no matter how grubby, looks better before I wax it. The sight of a meal’s worth of dirty dishes, pots, and pans makes me want to run in the other direction. Every so often I need OUT; something will throw me into total disproportion, and I have to get away from everybody – away from all these people I love most in the world – in order to regain a sense of proportion.”

I have those moments.  I can’t explain them, but I need the space and I need the time to simply be, without any requirements. To regain a sense of proportion.

Jesus did this, yes? He knew the need to be alone with His Father. He knew the need to protect Himself from being completely depleted. When we don’t protect ourselves from that, we become useless.

When I am not selfish for that time, I find that I become irritable and frustrated and tend to bark rather than speak. I’m useless.

I wish that I had the river my parents have in the backyard. Or the creek that L’Engle goes on to describe as her place to get away from everything. I do have a greenway and a creek that is within walking distance. I also have a back porch with the same sky L’Engle gazed at and that overlooks my parents’ river. I have to be a little more creative…but the silence and places of re-proportioning are there.

How about you? How do we find these touchstones in our world today….in the busyness and noise of our lives? In the cul-de-sacs that are filled with noisy children and barking dogs and lack of peaceful rivers? And how do we teach our children that this is as important as finishing the next level on the x-box?

3 thoughts on “Finding Places of Silence

  1. Nova Kristin says:

    I call that my time that I don’t need to be anybody’s anything. Not mom, wife, daughter, grandmother or any of the others things I am in my life.
    I don’t really have any place that is totally quiet, mostly because there isn’t time to drive to my most beloved quiet place on most days. In the short term, before I have time to drive there, I find solace in my bedroom closed away from the world. I put on the classical music channel or the Christmas one now (it blocks the noise of the house) and ask that anyone in my family leave me alone for however long I need. Sometimes it’s just 20 minutes and others it’s the whole of an afternoon. I don’t answer the phone and hopefully don’t answer my children for a time either. It isn’t perfect or silent but it is helpful in the hustle and bustle that is life with my active teen and tween.
    It’s gotten easier since my children are older. I lived with a devotional when they were little called :Diapers, pacifiers and other Holy things”. I’m not sure who wrote it as I long ago passed it to some other harried mother of young children.


  2. Nova Kristin says:

    Hmmm not sure why there is a smilie where a D should be. Curious eh?


  3. sarahkwolfe says:

    I have found the bathroom works when I’m desperate! 😉 I’ll have to check on the devotional…I think there is something really valuable in being able to hear and know others have been in our situation.

    That is part of all of this blogging and FB and other communications, I think. We need to know that we are understood and that we are not alone. Even just the silly posts on FB…I think we are so longing to be heard. I hesitated in doing the blog because there is SO much out there already…and yet, I am like everyone and felt that need to have a place to express my thoughts.

    At any rate…I do think we all need these moments of sanity and silence. The noise seems louder some days!


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