In the quietness

Sometimes words fail me.

So it was last week. I had no words, no words to write, no words to say, no words I hoped would encourage or inspire. I was somewhat silent.

There is the ebb and flow of the ocean, and the ebb and flow of life. Waves bring the high tides and then they recede once again. The coming and the going. Seasons bring change, and change is always, always the constant.

It is appropriate to dwell in the hush, to break from the rush of chatter and babble. I make the effort to practice the discipline of a quiet spirit that I hope results in serenity in me. I pray for God to set up a guard for my mouth and keep watch at the door of my lips. The tongue can be a fire that sets a forest ablaze.

Sometimes I need to be silent and avert the burning.

I have never been the life of the party, the one person who lights up the room by her mere presence. I know people like that. I have friends with the bubbly personality that exudes laughter and fun. They lift spirits and bring lightness to any situation.

I’m thankful for those personalities, for those people.

I am of a different sort, the contemplative one who loves being with friends and family but who craves a calm space. Too much noise, clanging and clatter for too long, can overwhelm me, and I look for some place to escape, to pause and restore.

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While my week was one of few words, the ending was celebratory and festive.

Sweet William and I gathered with friends to rejoice in one has lived 70 years. Around the table, laden with delicious food and presents for the birthday girl, the conversation and laughter were just what I needed after days of stillness.

The very next day we were at an 80th birthday party for another friend. She was surrounded by her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and a tiny new great-great-grandchild. It was a loving family showering their affection on the one who has loved them all very well.

The house was crowded, and we squeezed around one another, observing and mingling with a family who celebrates.

To everything there is a season. A time to be quiet and a time to speak up. A time for solitude and a time to throw a party. It is the ebb and flow of life.

Last week brought both seasons to me. And it was good.

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