“Silence is your only claim to wisdom” – Job 13, The Message
Sometimes I have days, chunks of them, when the words in my mind go quiet, almost by command; outside of my own will. I sit on my lily pad like a wide mouthed frog and occasionally feel a welled up thought rise in my throat and I burp it out, lick my lips and settle myself, shifting to and fro, back onto my lily seat and look around quietly at the world. And then? And then there are times when the words have formed a league and bang insistently on the door to be written out. I can always hear their footsteps before they knock. I began this piece at 11:15 this morning, sitting in my car in a graveyard. I felt Him urging me to write, I could feel the “message” forming like an egg that’s being fried in a pan, the white morphing from the clear goo when it’s first cracked. I shoved my hand blindly in my purse and fished for what felt like pen and paper and wrote out this paragraph on the back of a church bulletin. And then I got here. And stopped. “Wait. Be silent.” How odd that I would pulse out words, glad to have my “voice” back and then……come to the end of a sentence and have no idea where to go next. So. I got out of my car and walked towards this bench and took up it’s offer and sat. “Be silent.”
A few days ago, I was worried about my yard. It’s growing time and with my one boy gone far to South Africa, my other scaling Montana’s mountains and my one here working full time, I felt that creepy uppy thing that gets me most in the middle of the night start in. I couldn’t sleep because my grass was waving like a prairie, my lawnmower doesn’t work, I have no extra cash to pay for it and no idea what to do about any of it. Those little things that make a woman alone feel most definitely alone and eat at my peace like little mice. So, I told God my dilemma. Two days later I came home to a tiny yellow post it on my door. “If you need help with your yard or getting your mower started, I can help.” There was a phone number and a mans’ name. “Ok. But God. Remember? I don’t have money for this. And besides. Who is this man??” So I ignored it.
Last night I fell asleep early on my couch. My girl sat quiet watching a movie when the post it note man showed up. “Tell your mom I used to cut the grass for the man who lived here for years. She doesn’t have to worry about paying me. I just thought she might need help.” So I called him tonight and told him my story. Told him that I’d taken it right to my Father, who owns the cattle on a thousand hills, and asked Him to show me what to do. “I’m a Christian,” says post it note man. “I was driving by your house and noticing your grass growing and kept feeling like I was supposed to stop and offer to help. My pastors’ kids go to your school. I’ll be there tonight and get your grass taken care of.”
I’ve learned to keep company with being quiet. Here lately I lean into the silence to listen. It’s then I am learning wisdom. It’s then I know better what to say when I speak. I’ve come to tell you this. He doesn’t have to show up? But He always does. If you’re watching for Him. Sometimes He leaves His words on post it notes.