We Americans are a curious lot. I find as I approach each new birth year that I have stripped something away I never knew was an issue before until it's gone. Does that sound strange? For instance, I've always been overly engaged and involved in church despite having 4 children to care for and a husband. It somehow defined me. If I didn't feel loved and accepted in my church in some type of volunteer or leadership role, then it effected my individual self worth. Again, performance based motivation (which I have written about many times in the recent past). Without realizing it, I have stepped back. And how glorious it feels! However, there is this little hole left wanting to be filled, only because it's used to being filled with what I like to refer to as "the white noise of the soul". It isn't necessarily "dark" as St. John of the Cross so eloquently writes. This is a place in our life in which we have to have some type of distraction (background noise/fans/etc) in order to be placated.
For instance, I am prone to depression when alone. From 2:45 until around midnight, my life is busy, busy, busy -- lots of noise (again, 4 kiddos), hashing out the day with the hubs, cleaning, going over homework, playing the role of General until my kiddos get to bed, meetings, extra curriculars, concerts, etc. I work part-time, 3 days a week, doing office admin, bookkeeping, payroll etc. I enjoy the work. The other 2 days I somehow have time to allow myself to get depressed and feel lonely--purely circumstantial. And it's absofreakinglutely ridiculous! I mean, here I am with this blessed gift of time -- quiet time. Do I bask in it? Spend time communing with God? No. I whine about all the neat things I should be doing with others because it seems like so-and-so is always having lunch with friends, and I haven't really made anyone's "list". I live in the world of Facebook -- you know what I'm talking about. Here's a sample:
Beautiful Sarah has just posted a pic of her lovely children all wearing their coordinating Matilda Jane outfits, jumping on the bed in the perfectly made bedroom. Beautiful Sarah looks like she just stepped out of the salon with her model-esque hair and perfectly air-brushed make-up. She has a gorgeous smile plastered on her face, and she's laughing adoringly at her gorgeous children (who never argue or disobey). A couple hours later, she's posting a pic of the healthy lunch she's enjoying with her "core group" of true friends that all somehow look the same as Beautiful Sarah -- perfection. They are laughing, enjoying their lunch, looking pretty, blah blah blah. Then, there is that shot of Beautiful Sarah working on her thesis or dissertation or some other world-worthy endeavor. (At this point, I always wonder what happened to the kids who have mysteriously disappeared from the pics). Her life appears to be complete, full, lovely, while mine seems to be a disaster. I struggle just to breathe.
Then comes that curve ball from way out in left field: darling oldest daughter is diagnosed with a dreaded chronic illness that will forever change the trajectory of her life, as well as all of ours, and can even be fatal. Oh, and add to that a "surprise" brain tumor (benign, thank you Jesus), and life suddenly changes color. It's no longer grey and fuzzy, it's RED. YELLOW. BLACK. BLUE. It changes from day to day. All those tasks that once seemed so important, that social life I only dreamed of, is gone. And I'm so glad. You see, it dawns on me, all yellow/orange/pink, that my life is worth living simply in caring for another human being -- my heart beating, galloping for this child, these children, whom I love so dearly. I really don't need more. God is showing me what it really means to take one day at a time.
I love Matthew 6:34 in the NLT: "So don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today's trouble is enough for today." And I would add that today's blessings are enough for today as well and can carry you through that troublesome tomorrow. My mind no longer has time to concern itself with depression, loneliness, and feelings of being less-than. Sure, it will naturally try to take me there, but then reality hits. Kiddo is having a bad day. How can I help? Who can I call on to pray?
Finding quiet is attainable in the midst of a cacophony. Just breathe. That's what I tell myself every day. Close your eyes, and seek out Jesus. He's right there, and he will meet you in the midst of it -- nothing complicated, no special technique needed. Call out to him. Find him in his Word. Look for him in the beauty of Creation surrounding you. Realize what is truly important, then truly live one day at a time, keeping your focus on what life's worth living for. I hope you find your quiet.