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Finding Hope in the Quiet

"Deep in their roots, all flowers keep the light."

Theodore Roethke

It’s been a winter wonderland around where I live this past month. I shared the wonder of the quiet peace of the snow a couple weeks ago. The snow continued and accumulated and pushed our limits of welcoming it with wonder. Then all of a sudden the quiet of the snowy world around me changed.

Near me there are signs of hope with the vaccine becoming more available. My heart remains heavy for others, like our friends in Canada, who see a long wait ahead before realizing the possibility of the vaccine. I know there are other areas of the world where Covid is surging and strict lockdowns appear imminent. Thinking about all this, I am wanting to pause and realize what has been good and what has been hard before the world begins to open up again. It seems like a good time to keep embracing the quiet.

Do you experience a sense of quiet or stillness? Do you have a time of day when you sit with or welcome the quiet? For me it’s early in the morning and an intentional quiet pause around 2:00 in the afternoon. There are times when the quiet is peaceful. It can also be lonely or unwelcome. Sometimes, the quiet can even be loud.

Earlier this week, I was enjoying the quiet of the morning when my eye caught the sun’s new light on the bird house outside the window. It hangs from a hook near the limbs of a birch tree. All the branches around it were completely still yet the bird house was swaying back and forth, gently. Suddenly, the quiet of the morning sang as a chickadee popped out of his front door. The entire day seemed like a symphony as the snow began to melt. In what had been a barren white slate a little babbling brook appeared and the light of life beneath the surface began to appear again.

I am reminded of a favorite verse from Isaiah, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength,” (30:15, NKJV) There is something very grounding about returning to the well, the place where you are renewed, the place where you find hope. There, in the space and the sound of the quiet, we find strength. There are times when the quiet holds the space, stilling all sounds but that of peace and wonder. It is then that quiet sings.

“In the stillness of quiets we listen,” explains Howard Thurman, “we can hear the whisper of the heart giving strength to weakness, courage to fear, hope to despair.” The quiet can lead us to an inner stillness that we carry with us. It can be a quiet strength forged in hope, held by God as we go about our day.

The quiet can lead us to an inner stillness that we carry with us.

If your days are already filled with the sounds of busyness or loaded with the weight of worry, remember my chickadee. He’s been alone in his house wintering. Yet in time he has returned, along with a hint of green grass, the gurgle of water gathering in the pond, and the chirps and coos of other creatures awaking. We have reason to hope.

Eternal God, who commits to us the swift and solemn trust of life; since we do not know what a day may bring forth but only that the hour for serving you is always present, may we wake to the instant claims of your holy will, not waiting for tomorrow, but yielding today.” *

* Part of a prayer from James Martineau (1805-1900)


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