When I go away, out of my ordinary routine, to a quiet place, with the main purpose being to listen to God, I often am afraid. Not afraid of hearing God speak but of trying so hard, of wanting to hear him speak in certain ways, that I miss out on what he wants to speak into my life at that moment in time.
The usual quiet places in my house have been invaded this summer. The World Cup begins early in the mornings and as soon as the guys are up, the TV goes on. That is my usual corner to meditate in the early morning. I have found another corner, to be sure, but it still feels as if my still quiet place is disrupted. Often there are sleeping bodies in various places – couch or floor this summer, too and extra moving around on my part is likely to disturb someone’s sleep.
Don’t get me wrong – I love having the house invaded by the kids. It is their home and I am glad they come back to it. But for solitude??? Not a good thing.
So, I have been planning for awhile to get away to some very quiet place and take some time to listen to God more closely. I seem to need these times. The solitude nurtures my ability to listen. There have been some hard things to work through this spring and I needed to hear God again. Friday evening I headed up to the Franciscan Forest Sanctuary close to Christopher Lake.
On Saturday morning, I woke refreshed. Breakfast was ready and I sat down alone at the table, looking out the large windows at the forest and the two hummingbirds flitting around between the Saskatoon bush and the feeder. The male with his bright red throat would pause for awhile sitting on the bush or the top of the rail of the deck. I thought how they just are. They are beautiful and they were created for what? They are not expected to do anything that I can determine, just fly, nest, raise their young – just be; just fit into their place in the whole scheme of life that God created. In being what they were created to be, they provide something beautiful for us to enjoy.
The picture behind the table said “Just to be is a blessing, to live is holy.” I am not sure who the quote is from but the meaning seemed very true in the incredible silence of the morning. Just living in that moment was holy.
As I sat just reflecting on these things, I found my eyes filling with tears. As the trees surrounded and seemed to embrace the sanctuary with the forest, I felt as if I was being held like a small child by her mother, just being still in the care of someone who loves me very much. The feelings and the experience are a bit difficult to describe. The sense of being mothered was overwhelming and good.
It caused me to reflect on the longings in me to be a mother – to be mothering the children I have; to embrace them as they are and give them a place where they are always welcome, safe and loved. I think that desire also comes through in my desire to provide what I can to nurture faith in others so that they can find this safe place in God’s care.