Sunday, July 14
During a sabbatical summer rest is our activity. Actively resting says, "No, no, no." Choosing just the most delightful people, places, experiences. It means oceans and decks; pen, paper, books and rising early to connect with the air outside, exhale the staleness within. It means journeys, terrestrial and principal. It means that sometimes I invite and sometimes I don't and sometimes I remember loneliness and pay her some attention for a while.
Silence is a cousin of rest; sabbatical offers a host of it. We abide in it because we know it will have an end. Sometimes we actively hold our hands back, left grabbing onto right, from the text, the status, the habitual chatter. Holding my tongue so my ears can advance. Silence and trust go hand in hand.
But silence startles at first. The quiet gasp at the end of an opus, dominant chord echoing in the concert hall before that first eager listener dares to clap. The uneasy end of a spoken prayer, each of us looking sheepishly down, averting the eyes. The last breath of a life dearly loved. Who speaks first and dares to enter that space with anything but a sob for what has passed by and touched us?
This is charged silence; when the scent of a thing still lingers and we can almost touch the tails of it. This is where I sit before the boys rise: This moment after I give the airport kiss and drive home alone to the bed with his imprint on the pillow, razor wet on the sink, breakfast dish on the counter. The place we've built with our hands. The boys we've made and shaped. Twenty years of history charges this silence with sadness and gratitude. Now the first one awakes and I leave the silence and begin the stirring.
When we're not afraid to hear the silence, to ease ourselves into her pool though the water rises so quickly as if to choke us, we float back into life with fullness. Pause at the end of a passage before paddling out. Note a completion. Give nod to a close. Let all that came before do its reverberating work in the quiet channels of our souls and remember and trust it to finish.