Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Quiet Please!

In the hustle, bustle, and busyiness of life, a quiet moment can be a rarity.  We are so bombarded with distracting sounds that many of us have to add a layer of "white" noise so that we can rest or think. 
There are sounds of the home - appliances running, doors slamming, children laughing or crying, and media blaring. 
Beyond our walls, there are sounds of the community - vehicles, rescue sirens, barking dogs, lawn maintenance equipment, and neighborhood children at play.
And sometimes, deep within our souls, there are distracting noises of discontent, fear, guilt, anxiety, and hopelessness.
A portion of the view from the upper deck of our cabin in Wears Valley.
This evening, I've found a quiet moment.  We are at the halfway point in our family vacation, and following an afternoon of rambunctious fun (which included our youngest eating rock candy and dipping it into powdered sugar before each bite - yes, rambunctious!), my husband has taken the kids to the pool to give my ears - and my overworked ankle - a rest. 
It's amazing what one can notice when it's quiet.  The cicadas and crickets sing their sunset chorus.  A gentle, cool mountain breeze rustles the leaves of the tall, sturdy trees.  Occasionally the snapping of twigs grabs my attention as I look to see if I'm being visited by one of the many black bear that are often seen lumbering through these parts.    And then there is the hum of the jacuzzi on the lower deck...a reminder that we still love our amenities.  :-)
As I sit and soak in these soothing sounds, I'm reminded that in less than a week my world is going to become twice as noisy as it's been all summer.  The school bell will ring, and our returning students plus a healthy batch of new ones will bustle through the doors eagerly anticipating another school year.  Our days will be filled with the added pressures of homework, music lessons, and lunch packing.  Life's noises will threaten to drown the quiet that is needed to maintain balance, and it will be easier to succumb to the spin cycle and quickly find ourselves completely wrung out than to intentionally step aside and find a quiet place to rejuvenate the spirit.   
No matter your occupation, your family composition, or your geographic location, you're living in a noisy world.  Take a little time to find yourself a quiet place.  Listen to the cicadas, the crickets, and the wind.  Listen for the voice of God.  It's in the quiet that He is most often heard.

Monday, August 5, 2013

A Special Moment

...with a very special former student.
Never underestimate what a relationship may teach you. That is the lesson I learned from a boy who was probably underestimated by many.
I hadn't dealt with autism before meeting him. I didn't know to expect on a daily basis. I was both fearful and hopeful for his success.
But like so many others with "disabilities," my friend has extra "abilities. "  And just as I was amazed at his strengths in the classroom those years ago, I'm even more amazed and more than a bit proud of the young man he has become.
So when the opportunity presents itself, step out of your comfort zone and embrace someone who faces challenges that are different from your own. Offer to walk along beside them for at least a part of their journey. They will likely benefit, but I guarantee you'll benefit more.