We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass- grows 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 –
Life here is full of noise. Constant. It doesn’t help that I live on a highway across from a Nica bar. Yes, the fact that it is a Nica bar is relevant. No word of a lie, a Nicaraguan church service is a few decibel ratings (or whatever they’re called) above a Canadian bar, so now imagine what the bars are like here. We’ve had the pleasure of enjoying mariachi music, brass band music, karaoke nights, and all manner of other musical delights. The guard dogs bark, the buses squeal, the horns blare. Most of us have music playing and fans buzzing. There is a baby and a toddler that live right behind us and they both love to add a joyful noise to the mix. There are some crazy awful loud birds that take up residence here. Also, keep in mind that I teach Grade 1… And two out of four of my classroom walls are solid windows that need to be open all day, every day and for the first months of school whenever there was another class out for recess, I was so distracted by the noise that might as well have been right in my classroom that I found it hard to teach.
This month, over Semana Santa (Holy Week) we went to the Corn Islands here in Nicaragua, and I spent every day in peaceful, ambling quiet. I woke early to watch the sunrise, peacefully read for hours on end, prayed silently under the palm trees, snorkeled for a few hours with only the subtle sounds of the underwater world, stumbled upon deserted, wild beaches, and fell asleep to only the crashing waves (okay, that sound I can handle). It was so restorative. Another teacher and I also decided to move out next fall to a new house that is simple, tiny, and down a little bumpy dirt road. The first thing I noticed and fell in love with: it was peaceful and easy.
I need to intentionally seek moments to be slow and quiet my soul even when the world around me is busy and noisy– take slow breaths, form slow thoughts, react more slowly, talk more slowly and listen more easily. From this leads a life that is lived more deeply. Depth never comes from speed. And depth is what I want. Richness. Fullness. Overflow of grace.
I’ve talked a lot with friends this month about living and loving more genuinely, and how that actually occurs and what is most important. I’ve come to the conclusion that a big part (but not the only, or even greatest part, by any means) of this is to seek peace and a relaxed pace, allowing God to take the lead and to restore me each and every day in Him.
I’m thankful for quiet holidays to challenge me to seek increased peace, places of hidden quiet, and intentional silence and reflection. There is such beauty in these places and I am excited to explore them more.
“We live in a world starved for solitude, silence, and private: and therefore starved for meditation and true friendship.” – C.S. Lewis –