He buttons his shirt-jacket bottom to top. I watch as he walks beneath this upstairs window, one boot forward, then the other, head down into wind, buttoning as he strides, securing himself against wild gusts.
He always buttons this way.
I think I should.
It lines things up from end goal as start. How often I go neck downward instead, only to see my ends don’t meet, and I must start again!
It’s like how to fast, I think. Start at the end goal, and work from there. Line up time and activity from priority to the rest…
And I did it! And I wasn’t even realizing…
I’m not thinking “fasting” at all. I’m thinking free day, extra hours to spend with Him, alone with Him, soaking in the beauty of His holiness, listening closely to the words He speaks, has always spoken, letting the rest all go loose and away.
If only it would.
I settle early, very early, in upstairs study. It’s only half-past-four. I want to beat the day, beat the noisy rooster’s rousing…
But low roar of wind rolls all around, outside these windows, sometimes fading to pianissimo, sometimes making sudden crescendo, with whistles and clacks and bangs and clangings, and in between, low moaning and groaning. The moans haunt, the crescendos interrupt and intrude. And when the wind rattles windows, it rattles me, too.
And under all that muffling, the rooster, yes, already, crows his “hallelujahs!”
But I continue, just share my sensations and misgivings in my prayers…
Loud report of loose doorknob startles. Steps on wooden floor resound, rich baritone “Good morning” spears right through the meager door.
It is a grace, a gift, that hello, and I respond, and thank my God, and then try to continue…
Steps on stairs, clatter of dishes just below (this farmhouse is cracked wood and creaky, with hollow walls and closet spaces that serve as megaphones).
Every plonk! of potato tidbit dropping into empty metal pot in empty metal sink (he boils these, to feed his chickens…), every opening and closing of doors, every clink of china in cupboards, they all dart up here to bid me hello like little children, in and out.
This is quite a noisy silence! And I’m an auditory person. Here’s the mode in which my distractions lurk, ready to spring surprise.
I consider leaving here to seat myself in a quieter spot. Bedroom floor, by my trusty “prayer window”? — where the draft within from wind without makes real breeze across wood boards? I stay put, hoping for activity to cease.
Steps on stairs. Knock on door, baritone drawling a slow announcement: Love has brought me coffee. And naturally I reply “come in” and how sweet this is and it is love and grace and calls for thanks, and the rooster’s crowing again outside this left-hand, wind-rocked window, and the gale is even shaking the house.
“But the LORD was not in the wind…”
And so the thank you’s, to man and God, and now I have coffee. But that’s not really what I want. I want silence, and well, yes… a fasting. Because I want “Closer!” to my God. And oh, do they make rooster muzzles?!
The minutes roll. The hours. And in them, quiet finally comes. Even wind and rooster settle, and God is near enough to feel, and all else drops away and it is good, so good, thank You, God. A feast! Feast on His word, and presence, His still small voice!
I glance later at a clock. Time has rolled now to 10:30! I do the math. Six hours since I rose! And I consider: all I had was a sip of coffee — in how many hours since food last night? and even now I’m not yet hungry, except for more of Him.
Is this not a fast? Buttoned bottom upward? And a satisfying fast.