Sunday, February 28, 2010

Laundry, coffee, procrastination -- and Silence

Is it just me, or is the full moon in this newly downloaded image header actually flashing on and off, like a neon sign? Just to be on the safe sign, let me say that I found this image here. Not mine.

After a long day of church + loads and loads of laundry, mopping, sweeping, and cleaning... I have just made a pot of coffee and settled down in front of the computer, pursuant to putting off the kindergarten quilt project. Just for another hour or two... I suppose I'm also procrastinating on the Good Friday project, though I'm meeting with a dancer this week and that might kick-start things again. I am most certainly avoiding the Olympics, what's left of them.

In the interest of maintaining some sort of Lenten discipline, I took a break at around 2pm to find ten minutes of "quiet time." Having found it in bed, under the duvet, it was almost inevitable that I should fall asleep. But before the nap set in, I thought a little about church this morning -- about the quiet time we had after the sermon, during which all 80 or so people sat in near silence and I suppose relaxed into the space of the moment:
the sound of a newly-baptized infant burbling to itself, and kids playing upstairs in the nursery. Traffic occasionally rumbling past the front doors, and something else -- breath, I suppose. The silence of 80 people listening to silence is different in character from the sound of that same crowd listening to a sermon. We hear each other. And listening was the theme of the sermon (one that I had a tough time following today, and might try to catch again online, here. Apparently I wasn't listening very well.) At that time, during worship, I found myself thinking of the silence of Quakers -- the listening that is only broken when someone is genuinely moved by the Spirit, to speak or sing, or declaim. It's a reminder of collectivity, and I was really moved by it this morning -- church is my job, and I often forget how to relax into worship, on account of that. So the silence really was golden this morning.

80 people breathing together really is something. It's intimate, and I hunger for intimacy. Though perhaps not more than the next person. Are we aware of it? The effect of all our hurrying and freneticism is isolation. As someone said to me recently, just having time to do nothing if one chooses can result in a thawing -- of those layers of isolation, perhaps. 80 people breathing quietly together, and doing nothing else, free to think what they choose -- perhaps we thaw a little there too. Like when one holds hands with strangers for a few moments, to pray -- for just a few seconds, we're aware of each other in a new way. Maybe that's how we touched God today.

Day 17.

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