Monday, November 28, 2011

The Soundness of Silence

And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never share
And no one dared
Disturb the sound of silence
- Paul Simon

In my last post, I made my best attempt at expressing the beauty and necessity of what can often be one of the most challenging spiritual disciplines. Yet even in its difficulty, silence really is profoundly beneficial as well as foundational to the Advent season. I began thinking that for all the poetic attempts of the last blog entry, there wasn't much offered in terms of what silence might actually look like in our day-to-day life. After all, most of our daily interactions require verbal communication on some level. While I certainly am no expert on the subject, I would like to suggest just one way that we can practice silence and maybe begin to enter more deeply into the reality of God's presence: take rests.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Language of Advent

This morning I woke up early for band practice before church. The sun rose, as it seemed to me, even earlier, unaffected by the numbers on my alarm clock and the recent time change reflected there. It filtered new rays of light through a canopy of misty clouds, sending with them what may be the last remains of the season's warmth. A cool breeze blew through branches overhead, teasing the leaves still holding fast to near-winter branches while their less tenacious rusty-brown brethren rustled together across the driveway.

I stood there for a moment, looking and listening. A shaggy black dog shifted down the street, sniffing from mailbox to mailbox. He found nothing, the squirrels nestled away in their nests. The birds had abandoned the trees like the leaves, taking their early morning canticles with them. There was no other stirring, no other sound. The wind whispered a hush over the neighborhood like the Spirit silencing Zechariah when he doubted the angel.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Always Looking

Although we are brand new customers of TIC Federal Credit Union, I have never been inside one of their buildings. TIC happened to be the institution that the car dealership used to help us finance our new vehicle. Last week, I had no idea where to find a local TIC branch to make good on our first payment. The website claimed there was a branch in our hometown of Smiths but provided no address. Smiths isn't a big place, and I've lived here all my life. I thought I could picture where it was probably located.

So off I went in search of TIC. But when I arrived at my targeted destination, what I found instead was a Wells Fargo. I know Smiths like the back of my hand. Where else could this place be? I was running out of time, and I had to pick up my kids from school. The payment would have to wait. After all, I'm sure there's a grace period. Then, on the way to my kids' school, I spotted what I had been searching for. There was the local TIC branch directly in front of Walmart. Now, although I almost never enjoy going to Walmart, I must say that I have been there countless numbers of times. How long had I driven past this very TIC and never paid it one ounce of attention? Why had I never seen it before? Why couldn't I find a place that I had been next door to for years?

When my son, Noah, was younger, he would find coins on the ground almost everywhere we took him. Like a little hawk, he would pick up coins in his sight that we would have stepped right over. I always thought it was because he was closer to the ground. One day I asked him, "Noah, how do you always find money on the ground?" He replied, "Because I'm always looking."