In the Quiet

In the Quiet

The school year is already almost here again. I’ve never been one to celebrate when it’s time to buy school supplies and take first day of school photos. When my kids go back to school, I miss them. I have always mourned the loss of the noise and the fun of having kids underfoot. Now the start date is looming earlier than ever before on the August calendar, and as usual I’m bracing myself for the shocking change in my day-to-day.

But there is good in it, too. I ran across these thoughts that I wrote several years ago during the first week of school, and boy, do these feelings seem fresh. I know that this year, too, I’ll experience the sorrow of silence. I’ll have to adjust. But I pray that God will work in me in the stillness. This one is for all of the moms who know exactly how sad it can be to usher your little ones out the door and turn around to face and empty home:

The house is eerily quiet. My kids went back to school on Monday, hurrying out the door with nice, clean backpacks in tow, wearing their bright white shoes, a little anxious, a little excited, ready to get back into a regular routine of living in a world apart from me. I’ve never been one to leap for joy when back-to-school time arrives. I have to reorient myself to a soundless house, and in some ways it feels like my natural habitat is muffled, muted, misplaced, and I am just here, a little bit lost.

For the first week I wander through days. I make lists and think of all the things I’ve been needing to accomplish. I notice, for the first time in a long time, the small sounds that are usually only background noise. The dishwasher. The neighbor’s dog. The chime on the washing machine. The occasional car passing by.

For a little while, the lack of noise feels like a great loss. I miss the fun of children: the company, the chaos, the sweet simple things that fill up a mother’s heart and head when her kids are near. I even miss the frustrations. The children leave each morning, and I am left with silence.

It feels like the definition of “Be still.”

But this, like all things that leave us longing, leads me to Christ. In the silence, I find Him. In the loneliness, in the wandering, in the disoriented way that I have stumbled through the week, I see that He is near. He is unchanging, steady, unmoving. He doesn’t grow up and go away. He doesn’t lose sight of me. He is the most trust-worthy friend.

And when I sit in the quiet and I consider the world in all its heartache, when I think of my children shining their light into it, I understand the purpose of this quiet: I am remembering. Remembering that He is God. Be still and know it.