Throughout my life I've experienced different kinds and intensities of pain, some quick and intense (like the time I broke my collar bone falling out of bed), others less sharp and long-term (like growing up with anxiety). Some bones required finger splints, or collar bone straps; others hurts needed longer-term assistance to overcome the disadvantages of Dyslexia. So when I survey where I am today, and the experiences that led me here, I see the lasting impact of these various times in my life. I've been shaped by my longings and losses.
As a Christian I have this tendency to want to redeem things before Jesus has done the work. I can get uncomfortable with the grieving, mourning, and weeping of the difficult experiences I encounter. I tend to want to handle these losses with my intelligence, will power, strength, and perseverance to help me carry on. Something about standing around in the hurt can make me twitchy if I stand there alone for too long.
But I'm learning that Jesus invites me to journey with him through my pain. Not around it, or above it. Right through the mucky middle of it. He weeps with me in it. He grieves with me. He's not very twitchy about sitting with me in the midst of loss, whether it be physical, relational, or emotional.
When I try to skip past this part of his "with-ness" I miss his comfort; I miss the opportunity to allow my tears to make room for healing. Jesus invites me to sit with him and grieve. When I feel heard, or comforted, I feel known. And this often leaves me with a sense of courage or hope. I feel like I can stand up and carry on from a deeper place of wholeness when I've grieved through my pain, and let it inevitably change me.
I Wonder... What would it look like...
Today I was driving and couldn't figure out what I want to listen to. Typically I'll pop on a good podcast like On Being with Krista Tippet or NPR's Ted Radio Hour. Sometimes I'll venture over to Pandora and listen to some music. This morning I found myself not knowing what I want to listen to. It felt like my head was already full.
It got me thinking about the walk I took last night. I had a similar experience. Walking in the cool air without headphones I noticed the sound of my breath, the sound of the wind, the sound of the trees, the sound of my walking. It seemed odd for a semi-urban neighborhood to sound so still.
As I walked without headphones all the things that have been churning and spinning and processing in my head all day connected like links in a chain and spilled out of my steps. It felt cleansing.
So as I was driving today, and my thoughts began to clear and I began to feel better, I started to realize that this quiet is what facilitated that release for me. And it made me realize how important quiet is for my internal health, and yet how hard it is to make room for seeming nothingness. It feels good to have the busyness of sound around me. It at times gives me a sense of familiarity, which is comforting when when its not good for me.
I used to think silence meant hearing nothing so I could think nothing so that my mind would be completely clear. But I wonder now if quiet is more about opening a valve inside myself, and giving myself room to notice what is already taking place inside of me. And even more, allowing Jesus who's already loving me there to meet me in the quiet, in the connecting of all the swirling thoughts and emotions. Ultimately, even as scary as it can be to enter, in the quiet I am not alone.
How do you feel about quiet?
Share with me in the comments.