there is peace in the quiet found deep into the night. may this peace weave itself throughout the turmoil of our world, tonight and always.
Awake at 4:30am, I wonder what has stirred me?
These past weeks I trained several new caregivers. Many hours have been spent sharing personal details and staying very alert to our every move. This type of training is much like dancing – together we learn the steps and build the trust needed to lead and follow.
Then there is the introduction to my life. Where is my family? Why did I move to Asheville? Do I like to shop, read books, watch tv… Questions begin to slow when I explain my vocation — an Episcopal priest, where I have lived — from the East Coast to the West Coast, my schedule — time for quiet, prayer, writing projects, workshops and meeting friends for food and fun. Most caregivers are not accustomed to working with folks like me, active people who live with a disability. It takes a while to get oriented. My job– to be patient. Be patient and remember to protect the space for my dreams.
I have a dear friend who once asked how I managed to have any privacy and time for myself. She watched my life as it always seemed filled with people. People, who by necessity, must be in my rooms and touch many of my belongings. She could not imagine how I might find a way to have private time and space. “No one caregiver knows everything about me.”, I replied. “Somehow I am able to create a space that allows for privacy and solitude.”
This is not to say that finding private time is easy. And so I return to my opening question:
Awake at 4:30, I wonder what has stirred me? It is my alarm for peaceful time alone. When most of the world still sleeps, I awaken ready to revisit my dreams. My eyes open to discover a moment when images and ideas can rise to the surface and find expression.
This time is never taken for granted. It has to be honored. All of the people who assist me with the details of my daily life rely on my ability to find these moments. It is time to remember my dreams and find ways to bring them to life.
I welcome this opportunity and give thanks for a new day.
What an amazing picture. A little child in the midst of an ancient practice. So intent, even to the detail of his fingers. It is hard to imagine what kind of world surrounds this child’s experience.
This picture reminds me of the many times a young one has stood before me, hands open to receive communion or to reach for a blessing. They watch and listen as if the meaning of this worship is clear. With imaginations, fresh and unencumbered, children instinctively know the importance of these words and actions. They may fidget, create art on paper with crayons and speak out in a moment of silence but they are paying attention. In a flash, they express their own faith throwing us off balance–reminding us that we are in a place where the unexpected happens.
During times set aside for worship, we (yes, even clergy) often are distracted by thoughts of our schedules and activities for that day and beyond. These thoughts become our fidgets, our coloring activities, our own shout-outs in the midst of holy silence. To become quiet in mind and spirit is not easy task. With all the stimulus that fills our lives, finding a time for quiet is a challenge on its own and sometimes just not possible.
I look again at the picture of this child. Not only does it bring a smile but it can bring a moment of stillness and peace. What brings a moment of calm when noise and chaos surrounds you? No one image works for all people but we can find something that will carry our holy silence until we can hold it once again. It may be a picture, a memory, a person or a prayer. Whatever you ‘see’ – let it travel with you through your busy days. May it offer a moment that calms and quiets you in mind and spirit.