When I had five small children and a husband who often worked out of town for extended periods, the following was a typical scenario when he arrived home from one of his trips. It is only slightly exaggerated!
Me: Hi, Honey. So glad you’re home. I love you. Bye.
And out the door I would go. When I arrived home, my children would say:
Children: Where did you go, Mommy?
Me: The park.
Children: What did you do?
Children: Mommy! What did you do?
Me: Nothing. I sat.
And that was literally the truth! I would go to a park and sit on a bench or at a picnic table and do nothing. I simply needed quiet.
On those terrible days when it was raining or very cold so that the park was not an option, I would go to a store or a mall and just walk around. I was not shopping; I had no money. I would actually ask God not to let a sales clerk approach me and not to let me see anyone I knew. My soul was desperate for quiet.
The Christmas season has just passed with children home and then a short visit to a daughter’s house and I found myself playing that song again—I need quiet! Of course I enjoyed the visits! Of course I want to see my children! But my soul craves quiet.
Some people seem afraid of the quiet. They turn on the radio or the TV just to have noise. But I believe we need periods of quiet to enable us to focus. Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God.” The noise can distract us from an awareness of His presence. In a passage addressed to Israel, but also applicable to us, Isaiah said in chapter thirty, verse fifteen, “Thus says the Lord God. . .'In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.’”
When I am stressed and overwhelmed, I need to quiet to refocus and calm myself to help me regain strength, to help me turn my life back over to Him. John Greenleaf Whittier said in his poem Dear Lord and Father of Mankind,
Drop Thy still dews of quietness,
Till all our strivings cease.
Take from our souls the strain and stress
And let our ordered lives confess
The beauty of Thy peace.
Oh, Lord, give us quietness and peace!
~~Faith Himes Lamb