The Quiet Experience
It’s a quiet Sunday morning.
Raining again. Slow, Steady, Wet.
As I leave my home and decide where to go for the next hour a couple of places come to mind.
One is a chapel that is part of a Catholic church. This chapel is open 24/7 and there are signs asking that you enter in silence.
Silence is the rule inside too. There is no one to greet you, and the room is very small. Capacity is about 15 souls.
I’m describing this from memory, because I didn’t go there this morning. I stopped in about 6 weeks ago for the first time in many years.
I’m not Catholic. My wife and I are members, or partners of a local Lutheran church.
My parents belonged to a Lutheran church when I was a boy and so I was raised in that environment.
But I do not consider myself to be Lutheran either.
My beliefs and faith are not in any Christian denomination as I have attended and been a member of several since my 20’s.
My beliefs and faith are in the basics of Christianity and most denominations want to add to those basics which I find unbiblical to pledge allegiance to tenants of faith that restrict the power of God.
But all of this talk about denominations is not what is really on my mind.
As I mentioned, I decided not to go to the small 24/7 Catholic chapel and sit in silence this morning.
Instead I stopped briefly in front of the house that was my home for most of my youth, a few blocks away from the chapel.
This house is where memories live of my youth, from 2nd grade through high school. It is the house that my parents lived in for 30 years and where we would visit with their young grandchildren.
The house sits across from a neighborhood park that has changed over the years. The swings that I used to play on are gone, but the swings that I used to push my kids on are still there. I hope they remain for a few more years as my grandchildren are too young to play on them right now.
The house which was always green was painted yellow about 9 years ago. I don’t know who lives there because it has been sold a couple of times since my Mom sold it in 2001.
But as I sit briefly in my childhood neighborhood, looking at the park, the house, remembering the memories, I pray.
I pray that the people who now live in that house are being taken care of. I pray that they know that same God who loves me unconditionally also loves them, who ever they are.
And then I drive off, leave the neighborhood and pull into the parking lot of the coffee shop where I start nearly every Sunday morning.
Gospel music has been playing on the radio. As I turn off the car, the music is replaced by the slow steady wet rain. The coffee shop won’t be open for nearly an hour, so I get to sit and write down these words, these thoughts and have a conversation filled with prayer, reflection, thankfulness and humbleness as my fingers type on the laptop keyboard.
This hour or so will soon be followed by lively banter with friends inside, lunch with another friend, a trip to the grocery store, some work preparation for the week ahead and preparing dinner for my wife of 13 lucky years. This time alone with God, with nature and with my laptop, are not any less significant than any other hour I spend this week, just an opportunity to stop and soak it all in.
May your life today, this week and for years to come be filled with your version of the Quiet Experience.