Quieting the Soul

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At times these days I think of the way the sun would set on the farmland around our small house in the autumn.  A view of the horizon, the entire circle of it, if you turned, the sun setting behind you, the sky in front becoming pink and soft, then slightly blue again, as though it could not stop going on in its beauty, then the land closest to the setting sun would get dark, almost black against the orange line of the horizon, but if you turn around, the land is still available to the eye with such softness, the few trees, the quiet fields of cover crops already turned, and the sky lingering, lingering, then finally dark. As though the soul can be quiet for those moments.

All life amazes me.

– Elizabeth Strout, from My Name is Lucy Barton

 

 

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I have learned, from those much wiser than I, to recognize moments meant for quieting.  The news of the world constantly rushes past; there is suffering beyond imagining in the lives of a few I know and millions I don’t know.  There is much I can do to make a difference but so much more beyond my feeble reach.

Instead of feeling abandoned on the shores of overwhelm, I seek out the familiar, the routine, and the ordinary, immersed in the recurring patterns of the day and night as the world turns on its axis.  I turn myself around to witness what surrounds me.

And so I am quieted.  And so I am amazed.

 

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Called to Advent–quieting

photo by Josh Scholten

He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.
Zephaniah 3:17b

Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.

1Peter 3:4

When worries overwhelm and fretting becomes fearsome, I need quieting.
When the noise of news headlines screams for attention, I call out for quieting.
When there is sadness, conflict, tragedy, illness, estrangement in family and friends, I long for quieting.
When too many balls are juggled at once, and the first one is dropped with three more in the air, I desire quieting.
When the ache lasts too long, the tiredness lingers, the heart skips a beat, and one too many symptoms causes anxiety, I am desperate for quieting.
When tempted and ready for surrender, forgetting confidence, conviction, commitment and faith, I pine for quieting.
I need to freeze in place, be unmoving, and stay completely still so I can be a reflection of the depths of restoration and rest
Found in the call to quieting.


Just remaining quietly in the presence of God, listening to Him, being attentive to Him, requires a lot of courage and know-how.

Thomas Merton

If we have not quiet in our minds, outward comfort will do no more for us than a glass slipper on a gouty foot.
John Bunyan

Thou hast created us for Thyself, and our heart is not quiet until it rests in Thee.

Augustine

photo by Josh Scholten