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in the silence

When my kids were little, I slept with the door open and no fan on. I wanted to hear them if they needed me in the middle of the night. As they have grown into the teen and young adult years, I purchased a fan to drown out the noise of their coming and going and late night video games. I am a light sleeper and I can hear everything including the cat walking into the room. I have grown to love my fan because I love my sleep.

However, Elijah had surgery yesterday. So once again, I slept with the door open and the fan off just in case he needed me. I heard him wrestling the oatmeal creme pie wrappers in the kitchen around 3:30 am. 😊 I heard the cat shredding the tissue paper under the Christmas tree shortly after. 🙄

Then, I noticed the silence. And, in the distance the call of the Barred Owl that lives near us. I hadn’t heard it in months because of my fan. The first time ever I heard it, it was midnight years ago. I ran to my oldest son’s room. Grabbed him and we ran outside to listen. Ok, I know what you are thinking. “Jennifer is a crazy bird lady like in Home Alone 2.” Well, maybe that or a crazy cat lady. My son is use to it. He is a night owl himself and loves nature as much as me.

Tonight, I didn’t run outside. I lay and listened as the call came several more times in the stillness of the night. That’s when I was reminded that we can hear things in the silence that we can never hear in the noise.

Had my fan been running I would have missed it. What else am I missing because of the noise in my life? I know that sometimes I miss hearing God speak because I have too many other voices and noises around me. I know that when my life is full of distractions and details and deadlines, I don’t take time to stop in the silence and listen to His still, small voice. From my own experience, He speaks to me most often when I quietly pause and spend time in His word.

I think that is why Sabbath is important, too. God himself paused from his work. He stopped. He rested. He gave the command to keep the Sabbath. Shabbat in Hebrew means rest or cessation. To me, rest does not equal noise and busyness. Instead, it means silence, quiet. A stopping of the usual. Taking time to reflect. To listen in the silence. To build in Sabbath moments in our noisy days and busy weeks. And, maybe then I will hear the lonely call of the Barred Owl again or the still, small voice of God.

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