Quiet

Quiet. The gas fireplace fan blows softly. The refrigerator hums. The clock on the wall ticks, but the second hand doesn’t rotate and the time is stuck at 3:10.

I am alone. Just me and my thoughts.

I sit with my feet up on the coffee table, an empty journal and a steaming mug of hot water nearby.

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The quiet is especially noticeable because the last few days have been so full. For three days my little family of four more than filled up this one bedroom timeshare.

At ages 6 and 7 my kids don’t live life using their “inside voices.” They are all chaos and giggles and mess and mayhem, spinning each other in the rotating armchairs at full speed.

The long weekend with my family in this beautiful mountain town has been lovely.

But after a hike this morning and a late lunch together, I said goodbye to them. The Honda Pilot carrying a large portion of my heart headed down towards Denver and I drove in the opposite direction, back over Vail Pass to the timeshare, now silent and empty.

Back to … I’m not sure. Stillness? Rest? Something I don’t even know how to name?

See, I’m trying to learn solitude. How to intentionally be alone. How to find and connect with God in the quiet, contemplative place.

This is completely new and unknown territory for me.

I’ve always run away from this. It sounds silly to admit, but for my whole life, I’ve been afraid of being alone. Afraid of the quiet. Of the stillness. Of the lack of agenda. Of the not doing.

I’ve spent my entire adult life filling it up. I’ve sought out friends, activities, things, community, commitments, fun and one million other things. Even when I lived alone for a few months, my town home was a place of gathering and near constant activity.

But as my fortieth birthday is behind me and I’m looking at the second half of life, I’m just now beginning to recognize and understand that I need solitude.

While I was (as were we all) created for community, solitude, stillness and rest are equally important to discovering (or maybe remembering?) who God made me to be.

The real me, not the masks I wear.

So for the next 48 hours I’m not mom. I’m not wife. I’m not neighbor or friend or employee.

Without all those labels, I’m not quite sure who I am.

I guess that’s what I’m here to find out.

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