A Seeking Table: Meeting God Halfway

Went on a short drive with my fiance yesterday (wednesday), and yet it landed us in another world. As mentioned before, the town i live in is rural and teeny tiny....there are farms and houses, a tiny market and cafe...and thats it. And when you drive about fifteen or twenty minutes away in a certain direction suddenly you are truly in wilderness....no lights, no electric wires buzzing, seldom a car, quiet. I just stood there looking out over the mountain for the longest time last night out in that wilderness, hearing the silence, the air, the crickets....that peace and nothing else. Even on the inside, the noise quieted there too somehow, something....quieted, nestled, settled. It was so hard to leave that precious quiet i wanted to cry.

The inner peace didnt leave quickly, it really lingered as we got back into the car and continued on the road home. But then it was a shock when up loomed the street lamps, when i heared the cars and the buzz of electricity, and i could feel the contrast so strongly from the deep quiet i had come from. Now again, this is a teeny tiny and very rural town i live in, most would call it not only quiet but too quiet. Yet after a taste of the deeper wilderness i long for deep down, even a small town like this feels like way too much city honestly. And its had me pondering some things.

Last fourth of July i accidentally got too close to what turned out to be one of those loud piercing Piccolo Pete fireworks about to go off (long story). And as a result, ever since that night the little buzzing i'd had in my ear became much much louder. And i was really upset. Silence is one of the most important things to a contemplative sort, and now even when things are quiet there was/is a buzzing in my ear.

So after this had happened, prayed asking for help...and was surprised at the response: hearing "why don't you meet Me halfway?". I took that to mean to try and quiet all in my life that i could, even if the buzzing was still there. And trying things there, it helped some. Over the past year, discovered it made a big differnce to shut off the computer and its buzzing more often for instance, to not have the radio on all the time, to get rid of appliances that made too much noise, to not feel the need to talk as much (both in person and online), and the like. And there has also been a goal to get more and more off grid, though thats been much slower going. And of course it is much more than this..it is also the inner noise. That's the most challenging of all, and definitely still awaiting healing.

Now fast forward to yesterday, to that true quiet and peace in the wilderness. It brought home the contrast.... my life now and that deeper quiet of both home and heart i am seeking. There are moments that get close to that sometimes, like sometimes when mixing the cornbread, or taking a walk, or something, there are times there sometimes when the heart quiets and i find myself unconsciously humming, and the peace is touchable. But they are but moments... when the longing is more to actually live that way. And seeing the contrast today it reminded me of that answer to the prayer, that "why dont you meet me halfway".

The thing is, meeting halfway is not what we are encouraged to do really. The modern trend out there for contemplatives for example is the "chaos is fine/urban monk" sort of thing.....for instance purposely living in a bustling city rather than a quiet monastory etc becuase of a belief that one can rise above the noise and speed somehow and not get affected by it. Or the same sort of thing gets idealized today in ones "domestic monastory" (ie home)...being far too busy and claiming the chaos in a jam packed schedule and noisy home "dont matter" since God is everywhere so peace can be anywhere.

Its true that God is everywhere, and through Him peace can be anywhere. The Saints especially sure lived that. But they also helped expand peace, and i can't help but notice that. I think meeting God halfway there asks more of us than to sit back and pretend the chaos around us is just fine. Becuase it isnt. God's world is sure beautiful, but the mess upon it, the chaos, the noise, the confusion, the clutter, the toxicness, well that sure doesnt feel like God's heart to me. God is a God of order i feel, of beauty, of healing... and more and more i think its true we are meant to "meet Him halfway" there somehow. Such as by seeking out those little openings He gives us in our lives to deepen peace and order and beauty there, and actually focusing on them. Not just a nod to them, but actually focusing on them. A far cry from pretending the chaos and busyness in our lives and around us is just fine really... as we are subtly encouraged to believe, even in the world of faith.

So i admire those who make changes in the world to make the world more peaceful quiet and beautiful, and yet i also admire those who draw away from the chaos in the world to create or simply be a part of little pockets of peace apart (monastories, truly contemplative homes, etc). Both are ways of admitting that chaos is not fine. Both are ways of deepening peacefulness instead. And this all got me thinking of Tasha Tudor too today, who passed away last week. She definitely didnt just settle for the chaos around her as fine. She even had the courage to step back in time in a sense, in order to live a more peaceful natural and joyful life...and what a gift she gave us! I'm sure grateful that she did, rather than having just accepted the chaos in the world as "fine" and jumped in.

Have gotten way too abstract here (what else is new) so better end. But i guess what it comes down to is admitting some things in my own life really. Like needing that peace and quiet that i experienced in the woods last night, needing to actually LIVE that way, and longing for it so much its an ache. And i don't think deep longings like that are random, but rather have been given to us for a reason.

Maybe i will be moving deeper into wilderness, and i really hope so. But even if i don't, i still need to live my life in meeting God halfway there somehow. Each day there needs to be an actual deepening of peacefulness and beauty and quiet a little bit more... somehow... How? Praying on this, and...longing.

Thank you Father, for giving us our deepest longings.
Inside them a path feels nestled somehow, a path You have given.
Please help us dear Father, to walk... towards You there... Amen.

(Images are by Tasha Tudor, from here and here)

Blog Archive