Friday, November 5, 2010

Silence is Beautiful



We had a major power outage last night, starting around 10PM.  It lasted for about an hour, and considerably freaked out our son (our daughter slept through it).  A few minutes into it, I went around and lit some candles, then sat down to enjoy the "atmosphere" and help our son calm down.  (Through his Aspergers world view, power outages are scary and just plain wrong.  He was quite upset, and perseverated on when the power would be restored.  It didn't help that it flickered on for a minute after half an hour, then went black again.)  Eventually he relaxed enough to go back to bed.  Right about the time he was drifting off to sleep, the power came back on, and all was right with his world again.


As we sat and talked, I noticed how blissfully quiet it was in the house, the quietest it's been since we moved in.  The fish tank was silent.  The furnace and refrigerator were off.  No computers humming in the background, no noise at all except the clock ticking, and the rain pattering down outside and trickling through the downspouts.  I have to say, I loved it.  Our lives are so noisy, that often I just want silence.  Something so simple, yet it's so hard to find sometimes.  I've been known to ask the kids to just stop talking in the car while we're traveling - I swear they often natter on just to hear themselves, and it can really get on my nerves.  Talk isn't necessary to fill every waking moment.  I need silence, while the rest of my family doesn't seem to need it as much at all. 


I also enjoy being alone.  I didn't realize how desperately I missed that sense of personal space until the kids went back to public school after years of home school.  Suddenly, I could be alone in the house, and not have to talk for hours on end.  I could feel my spirit relax into the quiet during their first weeks back at school.  It was like I'd been dying for a drink of water in a noisy desert, and didn't even realize it until that gentle stream washed over me.


Over the years I've toyed with the idea of going on a faith-based retreat.  I love the idea of going someplace to be alone with God and my thoughts, undistracted and quiet.  My ideal retreat would be someplace rural, with trails to walk, water to watch, shadows to follow, details to discover, trees and plants to study, places to sit and think, comfortable chairs to read in, and quiet spaces to pray.  I'd have to take my Bible and my drawing pad, and a handful of my favorite markers and pencils, and a bottle of water or green tea.  Oh, just writing about this ideal retreat makes me want to schedule it, to have it to look forward to in the spring!