“For until we enter quietness, the world still lays hold of us.” Dallas Willard
In a very noisy, loud season of the world ?… this is where I firmly sit.
I have been drowning in the words, opinion, and expectations of others for decades, and especially the last handful of years. I suppose it is no coincidence that my journey of retreat began this time last year (more like a military retreat to regroup, rest, and reassess vs. an extended stay at the spa for pampering, though I would REALLY love a good few days at a spa ??♀️??♀️).
It’s as if my spirit knew I’d need to be anchored and practiced in the opposite direction of what the world is screaming in my face.
In a time when there is what feels like an unprecedented pressure and expectation to be loud… I have turned the in very opposite direction. And I have done it somewhat rebelliously, I suppose.
No one can hear each other anyway, right? The messaging I hear LOUD and CLEAR (or am I just sensitive to it these days) is to be LOUD.
But how can we hear and think in the midst of such noise?
Sometimes when I think about all the confusing and loud noise I can’t help but think of Mel Gibson’s son in the movie Ransom. Have you seen it? The son is kidnapped and kept in a room with awful, blaring music. It’d like torture.
That is how the noise feels to me.
When it comes to me adding to the noise I can’t help but be believe my words would not bring comfort, healing, change, or unity – regardless of creed… or non-creed.
Well… I’ve been struggling with anger. Resentment. Rebellion.. Anger (yes, I typed that twice). Hurt. Exhaustion. Directionlessness (?). Hopelessness. Loneliness… and not just pandemic-induced loneliness. In fact, when the pandemic came and we were forced into loneliness I joked with my husband, “I’ve been training for this very moment for almost a whole year!”
And that is a whole other story… about discernment and making hard choices/courage.
I have not been in a season where I fully trust my own perspective (see sentence above), and certainly not most human opinion nor perspective.
Therefore retreat… enter quietness.
I read the quote by Dallas Willard in the forward of Ruth Hart Barton’s book, Invitation to Solitude and Silence towards the beginning of my season of retreat (linked below).
I know God is not calling me to forever retreat (pretty sure the monk life isn’t my calling), and I also know my work in this quiet(er) space is not yet done. I have decisions to make and direction to find, and I know without a doubt that what I am seeking is not found in the noise or from the hand of the world.
Do you feel overwhelmed and confused? I know the idea of retreat is hard, and opposite of what feels like everyone is doing, but maybe you need a little time to draw back and catch your breath and lean your back in the muddy trench for a little while. A great, easy starting book: The Way of the Heart by Henri Nouwen.
Other books I have enjoyed during this journey:
What was my 2020 Word of the Year? Find out here!
Speaking of books, if you have any teens or young adults in your life, feel free to check out MY book, Adulting for Christians available at Amazon here or wherever books are sold!