September 28, 2010

Silent Night, Holy Night

"As soon as we are alone...inner chaos opens up in us. This chaos can be so disturbing and so confusing that we can hardly wait to get busy again. Entering a private room and shutting the door, therefore, does not mean that we immediately shut out all our inner doubts, anxieties, fears, bad memories, unresolved conflicts, angry feelings and impulsive desires. On the contrary, when we have removed our outer distraction, we often find that our inner distractions manifest themselves to us in full force. We often use the outer distractions to shield ourselves from the interior noises. This makes the discipline of solitude all the more important."
~Henri Nouwen (Making All Things New and Other Classics)

The last time I had overnight guests, I put my fan in the spare room for their comfort. We laughed and talked halfway through the night. After a hearty round of "Good night John Boy, Good night Pa!" the house hushed and to my surprise, my head blared!

How many thoughts can one girl have at one time! The whir between my ears must be akin to when an avalanche meets a tornado meets a hurricane. A messy raucous!

Why was I thinking a thousand thoughts all of a sudden?

And then it hit me. My brain always fusses at warp speed. I just never noticed because my fan's white noise muffles my thoughts.

I became keenly aware- with all my yammering filling my mind, I didn't have space for the Lord's voice.

Right then, laying in the still dark, I began to practice the age old discipline of silence. I asked the Lord to calm the rapid-fire voices of my plans, musings, anxieties, excitements, memories and to-do's.

It took a while, but I grew accustomed to the quiet. And my friends, that Silent Night became a Holy Night as I drew near to the one Voice I needed to listen to. Were there epiphanies or major transformations? No, not really. But there was sweet peace and a realization He is near.

Perhaps that is an epiphany after all to my overworked mind. I may just keep my fan in the guest room!


Eileen said...

Nice post. Being still is so hard to do. We love noise. I read a great little book last spring called Refuel by Doug Fields. One suggestion he had was to sometimes leave the car radio off when you drive somewhere. Enjoy the quiet.
PS. I don't think I could sleep without my fan :)

Fields of gold said...

I find it hard to be still too. I've gone on several silent retreats and it took me hours to just quiet my whirling mind!! Thanks for the book suggestion...I'll check it out!

p.s. i put my fan back in my room! i couldn't sleep without it either! :)