I had the opportunity this week to visit my favorite retreat center, Greenbough House of Prayer. One of the things I love about a silent retreat is how it reminds you what a gift quiet can be.
Our day to day lives are so full of the hum of busyness, we hardly notice how loud they are until the sounds have faded away.
It reminds me of a kayak trip my husband and I took a few years ago while living in Savannah. We had paddled up Moon River of Johnny Mercer/Breakfast at Tiffany’s fame. Moon River is a small, shallow river that cuts through the wide coastal marsh. The river is so shallow, that motorboats cannot travel along it. In fact the day my husband and I traveled it, we didn’t see any other human beings the hour we paddled along its winding waters.
Meandering further and further into the wild of the marsh, my husband and I fell silent as we watched our paddles slice through the slow waters and kept our eyes open for gaters. Suddenly I was startled out the trance the water and wind had lulled me into. A loud noise over my head made me jump so hard I thought I might fall out of the boat.
When I looked up to see what had made such a loud, starling noise I saw a lone osprey about 20 feet up in the air slowly flapping its wings. It turns out that the sound the bird had made was not loud at all, it was just that my surroundings and mind had gotten so quiet that I heard it very clearly.
For when we receive the gift of quiet, we find we can hear and see things that we normally don’t notice for all the noise.
So as I walked the paths of Greenbough this week I actually saw the red of the changing trees and heard the bird calls and felt the wind blow across my face. And as I noticed these small but miraculous things, I remembered that God is indeed great and has made this world good. I tucked this truth in my pocket with the picked cotton fluffs and fallen Ginko leaves so I could remember it when the noise of trouble and worry hit when I returned back to my busy life.
Maybe you too will find the gift of a quiet moment in the midst of this week. If so, where does it come for you? And what truth does it offer?