I knew last night I had to write up a little something for mothers around the country to read. Well, actually, it was of no surprise that I had to write, I just put it off until the pull of procrastination set into motivation … kind of. I felt blank and at the same time full of ideas. I, once again, watched time slip leaving no hours left to articulate them. So, dear readers, you get an impromptu meandering of my thoughts and rambling words, a reflection on a quote.
I read this today.
We need to find God and God cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature — trees and flowers and grass — grow in silence. See the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence … We need silence to be able to touch souls. Mother Teresa
I am adding: we need silence to be touched and be found by God.
I scribble notes as I scroll through Facebook, as I cut orange slices for the children, as I pick up pants and underwear soaked from the potty-training toddler. I let the ideas swirl in and out of my head as I sweep the cracks of the old pine floor full of Easter, mud, and dinners.
I crumple up those notes, toss them aside, direct my daughter to her bed for books and a nap, get up, adjust my chair, and notice the sound of my sleeping baby. It’s hard to escape now to the quiet, to the meadows and under the willow. It’s challenging to find silence. I long for it.
I want to be found by God. I have wanted that all my life and for so long I thought that all my hiding and running away was from “something” but now I see I was running towards something: the peace. The peace I have known and found in nature, the peace of moss saturated with melted snow, of water flowing in one direction and never turning around, of leaves shivering with wind and flowers that bloom for no one but the one who notices them.
“Here I am Lord, is it I Lord? I have heard you calling in the night, I will go, Lord, if you lead me …” I wish I could say I have made myself available to God in this way. I would rewrite parts of my story and invent a girl swirling in floral fabric feeling the beams of sun pierce her heart bursting with God’s love.
Truth is, my journals are full of my escapes when life seemed unfair and left me confused and lonely. I am sitting at my desk, my feet resting on bags of blank books I have filled with emotional thoughts and entries of my tiny life. A common theme runs through the pages: questioning life and looking for something bigger than me. I cringe at the times I felt I had “found” me by being rebellious, bold, and offensive to God. The pit in my stomach swells, as I read my own words, “I want … I am … I will …” — none of those words are followed up with serve, love, or give; pride is present and humility lacking. What I read in my decades of life notes is about a girl that seems to be always scrambling and searching, seeking for something to satisfy an aching, and acting carelessly in an attempt to be seen.
I lacked an understanding that I was created to long for God’s gaze on me. What didn’t stick out to me until today, after I read Mother Theresa’s wise words, is my own natural craving for stillness and silence. Maybe what I thought was my hiding place was my finding place?
Since I was a child I have always sought out retreats in nature. I explored the cracks of the stone wall fence where tiny white flowers grew, I made forts in the farmers woods where birches and maples naturally grew in a circle, and I stood at the edge of the water, from warm to frozen, begging the rhythm of waves to awaken me.
I have always thought of myself as a “seeker,” even buying a bottle of wine last night with that as the label. I am shifting my perspective today. Right now, as the rain rolls down the window and I beg my children to hush just for a moment, I am letting myself be found by God. I am exposing myself, all my vulnerabilities, errors, regrets, sins, and shortcomings and in the silence of nature, with God, letting him see me.
When I retreat to the woods where the ferns are about to unfurl and sap escapes the wounds in the bark, I am going to grow, like them, in the silence.
Copyright 2019 Maggie Eisenbarth