One of the benefits of COVID quarantining is the opportunity for quiet time—being present in a setting that excludes noisy busyness. I have taken advantage of that possibility several times during various phases of the pandemic. A few days ago, the benefits of an outdoor evening’s tranquility came into focus with the realization that what I was experiencing—seemingly nothing—was filled with meaning.
It didn’t take too long to appreciate that the calls of various bird species carried volumes of meaning. I can’t discern the intricacies of birdsong, but it seemed that every note carried comments, warnings or instructions for other birds.
The distant roaring of an accelerating car sans working muffler was bothersome noise for me. But for the person gunning that engine, the sound carried significance—pride, power, satisfaction—known perhaps only to him.
The almost-imperceptible shifts in the evening breeze—strength, direction, temperature—brought air-pockets of distant odors, most of them not part of my olfactory catalogue. Unknown meaning that kept moving on, to other sets of nostrils down the line.
It’s hard enough to make sense of all the sensory and cognitive inputs that fill each day. It’s also difficult to extract meaning from what’s not apparent, not being voiced or not yammering for attention. These maxims humble me: What’s unseen is also true; what’s unspoken speaks volumes; and still waters always run deep. Thus the unknown is likely meaningful.
Where does this take my quiet spirit? Away from trying to know and understand everything I encounter. Towards the wonder of it all—an invisible and almighty God knowing and organizing all that exists in order for the greater good to occur. Towards fully trusting God’s loving providence in these times.
So that I can be still… and know God!
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