This season of life is new to me. Both of my children are in school, and there are gaps of time in the day that never used to exist. Time to breathe, time to finish drinking an entire cup of coffee before it gets cold, time to tidy a house after the morning melee, and (wonder of wonders) a long stretch of time that the house remains tidy.
By nature I'm an ambivert. I can be social, but I also welcome silence, solitude, and the space to ponder and process whatsoever my mind chooses. The last several years have had many interruptions, questions, disruptions, interventions, admonitions, and instructions, but precious little solitude. I fell in love all over again with my husband when, as I cautioned him not to expect much to change around the house these first few weeks, he said, "I don't expect anything to change for more than a month! You have close to a decade of solitude to make up for."
This is only my third week with regular silences, and I'm learning some hard truths about myself and the world I inhabit. I am learning that we dislike, resist, and even FIGHT stillness.
A movie quote from "The Sound of Music" says that a life of activity suggests a life filled with purpose. Do I resist being still because I fear that it means my life has no active purpose? Have I fallen in the trap of believing my value is equal to my productivity?
It is HARD to be still. Hard to hold myself in check and refrain from acting simply to be active. I'm somewhat dismayed at how quickly a week can fill without any deliberate effort on my part to make it full. It is far more difficult to keep time open. Open time requires actively resisting requests and invitations, learning to say the dreaded word "no" to what is good, sincerely believing that saying "no" can leave me available for what is best in the long run.
When I woke up this morning, my day had a blank holiness of six hours' time. Two of those hours were gone in a flash, with little say-so from me. And yet... it was because so many hours were open that _I_ was open to where the moment might lead. My margins are wider now than they have ever been. I have more time, so I resent things that take time less--while fighting a good fight to maintain deep margins.
Still... still I am waiting. Still, I work to cultivate a listening heart. Still, I have the conviction that more is coming. Still, I enact my belief that there is more beyond me and my activity. Still, I am willing to wait, to halt my action until such a time as I truly am needed.
Today I am praying that my heart will learn to cultivate and crave stillness.