I’ve never been one of those soft-spoken people. There are those in my life who wish I was.
Having raised six kids, I’ve developed a voice that can carry. I’ve been asked to get the attention of folks in groups because people know my voice can be heard over most conversations. And heavy machinery.
I live a noisy life. I’ve discovered that the way I learn best is talking out loud. Hearing myself confirms what’s in my mind, ideas that get stuck in my head and often refuse to come out.
I recently had an opportunity, with four dear friends, to enjoy some contemplative time at a retreat center. A place just outside the noise of the city, where trees grew thick and the local lake lapped gently on the shores. I felt cocooned in a world of quiet, surrounded by vegetation that would make a rain forest envious.
When given the chance for quiet–for me to actually pause long enough not to talk to anyone–it takes me time to quiet my own soul. To let go of the noise within so I can truly experience silence.
I listened to the sound of the wind in the trees. It was a hushed whisper of a multitude of gently clapping leaves. It crescendoed as the wind became stronger, fading out as the wind dropped.
I heard a variety of bird calls, including the melancholy hoot of owls. I have friends who are true birders, who can identify which species chirrups and which one trills. I’d have enjoyed knowing more about them. Their songs intrigued me. Some felt light and lovely. Others sounded mournful.
After a few hours I was feeling quite small. Not inconsequential or insignificant. Small in light of the beauty and bigness around me. I can’t look at the grandeur of nature and not be confronted with the reality of a gracious Creator.
I know there are those who deny the existence of God. An all-powerful, all-loving God is too much to grasp, so there will be those who try to explain such incredible beauty as a massive explosion or a process of evolution.
I watched tiny insects, beautiful in their blues and greens, crawl on ancient trees draped with moss. I felt the wind on my face before I heard it slide through the trees in a melody that relaxed me to my very core. I smelled the arresting aroma of wild magnolias mixed with the pungent scent of algae on the lake.
I saw God around me.
“The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display His craftsmanship…They speak without a sound or word; their voice is never heard. Yet their message has gone throughout the earth, and their words to all the world.” Psalm 19:1,3,4
I appreciate the fact that I can’t explain everything around me. No one can.
But I deeply value the One who knows me, sees me and loves me. The One who made me unique.
Look up at the stars tonight. Imagine how far, how many there are. How massive they are in size.
Be still and listen.
God’s voice is there. If you choose to listen.