I turn the key. The engine purrs. I back out of the space and turn, steer out of the parking lot, and punch that habitual button…

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Buzzing static. Clashing word and music bursts. Mad sound collage.

I can’t get My Favored Listening.

I press the seek button, seeking, seeking…

Twangy whine of singing. Press again…

Chain-saw buzz of heavy metal…

And again. (I am after peace)…

Ranting voice, spewing vitriol, conjuring a red and sweating face….

More whine-singing…

In-out interrupting news and ethnic music…

Fading commentary…

And yet I go on pushing, pushing… thinking the next go-round will bring me something worth the hearing.

Finally I punch a different button: Off! I wave my hand to shoo away the noise like pesty flies.

Now all I hear is engine purr and tires’ shhhh. I sigh relief.

I’m almost home. Just minutes more…

And suddenly it hits me: My foolish waste. Near twenty minutes in this futile chase.

Prodigal daughter of time wealth, I could have been having…

A quiet time. Twenty. good. minutes.

Silence had sat beside me, waiting a soul-embrace.

Someone else had, too…

 

When we went flying airborne off that icy backwoods road, my friend and I, and the truck landed right there in that outlandish place of impossible good fortune—instead of where,  with mere inches or wee angle degrees of difference, we’d have crashed, bad—she behind the steering wheel said, kept shaking her head, repeating, “God was riding with us!”

He always is.

If I’d just notice. But I chose noise instead of nice. Catapulting onward instead of settling inward. Driving hard and thinking busy instead of slowing and stilling.

And forfeiting much in terms of peace, and fellowship with Him, most loving friend.

 

The day before I drove, too. Not a car, but myself. Worked like flashing lightning, bolting task to task. Getting. things. done!

It did occur to me somewhere in early stages of this frenetic, I could probably work in quietness if I’d just slow down, not race the clock, not pigeonhole tasks into tiny time allotments barely big enough.

But no, I decided I must get all this stuff finished up. The bit of painting I’d missed the day before, the paint dribs needing to be scraped off windows, the smears on storm doors, the cobwebs in house corners… (you know…)

Of course everything held sneaky unseen complications, took longer than planned, set me further and further behind, left me only frustrated.

So my racing failed to meet my goals anyhow. And I was hardly at peace!

 

Peace wasn’t all I missed. His Presence had been there with me, too. And I’d ignored Him abominably.

 

Sometimes I do differently.

Like the week before.

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Kneeling awkward, paintbrush in plastic-gloved hand, sun pouring warm over rough roofing, sky brightening blue, air as still as a crystal pool… I painted in peace with His person. And thought of another friend, who’d used her painting time on the missions trip to pray in solitude. And Laura’s post about “Mopping as Spiritual Practice.”

It’s often there for the seizing: the stillness of sound and soul, the basking in His Love. I need this, for many reasons. One of them is enablement to “Live (His) Love.” If I soak up that Love, sponge-like, till I’m saturated, the slightest nudge will spill some out. If I don’t, I’ll soon run dry, have little love to live…

{This post is part of a series on “LIVING (out) (His) LOVE,” PART ONE is here PART TWO is herePART THREE is herePART FOUR is here, and PART FIVE is here.}

 

6 thoughts on “I Could Have Had… !

  1. peace — it is always what we are really looking for. and with that music, I totally relate. Where have all the really lovely voices gone? 🙂 The kind that reflect Him just by their beauty and draw him close as a quiet time…

    1. Yes, Pam, I think you’re right, that peace is what we are really looking for, and that reminds me of the famous Augustine quote that says our hearts are restless till they find their rest in Him. This applies, methinks, not just to coming to know Him in the first place, but also in learning to rest in Him throughout our days and nights. Still learning…

  2. I find myself more often choosing silence rather over radio, these days, when I drive.

    Sometimes just alone with my own thoughts…

    Other times actively praying and listening…

    Or…humming, whistling or singing a praise song…

    Thank for sharing!

  3. Thank you for this beautiful post. During the week, I often listen to a CD on my car radio, but on Sunday, it is quiet time as I drive to church. I can relate to your story of trying to find something worth listening to, and then realizing, peace comes in the quiet and stillness.

    1. “Peace comes in the quiet and stillness.” So true, Hazel. Yet something we (I) can easily forget amid the busyness.

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