Tuesday, November 10, 2020

The quiet of November days

It's fire season, when bursts of red-orange leaves flutter, forming an image of flames licking the breeze.

Branches and tree limbs line the streets, a multitude of unlit funeral pyres that dot the city, reminding us of nature's power and our powerlessness. 

Cold gray tombstones stand silently as young voices-chattering, praying, laughing-shatter the desolate atmosphere of the cemetery. 

We hear a thump thump as a woman down the street rolls the trash can up her driveway, and my sons look after her, excitedly. I want to say hi, they declare, their small feet and short legs propelling them quickly towards her house. 

The air is tinged with nicotine and cars rumble down the road as we sit and rock back and forth in tall chairs. My firstborn struts in front of us, launching into a monologue about anything that crosses his four-year-old mind. My baby cuddles into our neighbor and we laugh as the boys excitedly talk over each other and scamper around the driveway. 

As people in the nation scream at each other across the internet and fill their minds and hearts with anxious speculation, we rest in the comfortable unproductivity of sharing small talk with neighbors and playing in the yard, of watching blue jays soar up to rooftops before they launch themselves higher into the sky. 

I wonder, sometimes, what our nation would be like if we collectively decided to jump out of the noise and the race to always be the first to know the answers, the need to be an expert on all of the issues that are currently plaguing society. 

I wonder what would happen if we resigned from the competition to be as productive as we can, constantly creating and promoting our work and successes. 

I wonder what would happen if we, together, sought the solace of the quiet life. 

Our piles of branches are small in contrast to the towering
stacks of tree limbs that adorn many streets in Oklahoma-
it's amazing how destructive one ice storm can be.

We may justify our preoccupation with noise and busyness by pointing to the fact that "there are many parts in the Body," (1 Cor 12) and that we are not all called to live as monastics, hidden away from society. However, in our zeal to use the gifts that God has given us, and to engage the culture, we can forget the importance of silence. 

We may be called by God to run corporations or spend our time interacting with the latest news in politics; yet, we cannot let ourselves be swept away by the tsunami of noise and division that wrecks havoc on our country. We cannot give what we do not first possess, so if we want to engage the culture and work with others on political issues, then we need to step back. 

We need to enter into silence, away from the commotion of the world. 

In the final weeks of 2020, let us courageously allow God's holy silence to break into our lives. Let us make ways to quiet ourselves, to tip-toe away from our work now and then, so that we may rest. 

Donuts are an unmotivated mom's version of "soul cakes" 
after praying at the cemetery on All Soul's Day (November 2).


  1. Love this post! So much truth here that I wish every American could read.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, Lianna! I'm so glad you enjoyed this :)

  2. My husband and I are very into political activism because in the end, it will very much affect how we lives our quiet lives. That being said, I am all about small living, being unbusy, and living in the moment. 1 Thessalonians 4:11 has been a powerful verse to reflect on, I think it goes perfectly with your post!

    1. Thank you so much for sharing that perspective, Laura! I appreciate the reminder that political activism is important because of how it affects our lives. I will keep reminding myself of that whenever I grow discouraged by the political scene in America ;) What a fantastic Bible verse-I love how it mentions both work and the tranquil life. Thanks for sharing it!