We have an L-shaped house, with a door at the very back of the structure leading into the backyard. Normally first to arise, I crept down the hall toward that door Saturday morning, somewhere near sunrise.
Opening the door and peering out, my eyes first centered on Sid the Zen Frog, a ceramic creation nearing a year in residence after coming back with us from Panama City Beach. In his reserved way, Sid was tolerating rain from a steady but gentle shower, causing no concern for him or nearby birds, in full song in nearby trees. A fresh breeze and comfortable temperature enhanced the scene.
I relaxed at the door 10 minutes or more, taking in the simplicity and peace of what my eyes and heart beheld. A pleasant way to begin the weekend, not thinking about what happened the day before, or what must be done later. Just remaining in the moment.
Further reflection on those minutes staring out the door made me realize that, of late, I haven’t done a good job at all of seeking and using those vital moments, little gifts from God, to just stop and stand down.
It isn’t like I was consciously avoiding them, not wishing for silent moments with God. They are quite the lifeline. But life can be a distracting enterprise, can’t it? Domestic issues can and do spring up without warning. Pastoral concerns are the same way: one phone call can change the course of one day, or several. And all those matters need attention.
Rarely if ever can we control when demanding issues are put on our plate, but we can control how we prepare ourselves for emergencies when they arise, and thereby reduce the buildup of stress.
We cannot depend on a Saturday morning rain shower for a moment of peace. But we can and must seek out such peace by intentionally making time in our schedules for silence with God. It takes practice and self-discipline, but the benefits are unquestionable.
Consider the words of Cardinal Robert Sarah, from his work “The Power of Silence:”
“Our world no longer hears God because it is constantly speaking, at a devastating speed and volume, in order to say nothing. Through silence, we return to our heavenly origin, where there is nothing but calm, peace, silent contemplation, and adoration of the radiant face of God.”
Saturday morning taught me that I must get back in the habit of silently seeking that radiant face. In divine silence, He awaits us all.
Michael Clapp is deacon at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Mayfield.