Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Soft Spaces

It's the day before Thanksgiving. I was up until the wee hours last night running down my "To Do" list, and up early, only a few short hours later, to continue ticking away. By lunchtime I was pleased to see more checkmarks than blank spaces. After depositing my toddler in her crib I turned on a movie for my older girls, and then climbed back between my sheets. That clean, coming home feeling returned. My feather comforter felt as heavy as my lids, and I burrowed down, a good book in hand. It didn't take long for the press of responsibilities, the anticipation, the worries, and the murmer of the television downstairs to recede.

I live for these quiet moments of the soul, and the accompanying respite from world weariness. There are other methods of reaching that place, and synthetic ways of course, but they aren't my ways. In fact, on consideration I'm hard pressed to say what "my ways" are. The soft spaces in life usually occur on their own accord. A sudden relief. Your heart leaping into your throat at the sight before you. A job well done, a day well lived, or an unexpected gesture of love. On days like today it was simply a much needed, body and mind encompassing sleep.

I think I was gone about twenty minutes when the sound of a wailing child called me back. There's no siren as effective as a crying child. The dream lifted, slowly. The color of my curtains, and then the position of the afternoon sun filtering through them took shape in front of my squinted eyes. It's astonishing how much rest and repair takes place in such a short space of time. Every part of me felt better.

I'm collecting moments like today in a series of short stories. So much of our lives are a blur of motion, that sometimes it seems as if the surprising intervals of total quiet are the only indicator of one scene from the next. They are both telling and redeeming. It doesn't hurt to look for them, to temporarily pull the plug on our frenzied lives and seek out soft spaces through naps, prayer, or meditative exercise. But I believe the best, most startling instances of rest come to us when our spiritual selves sigh deeply and say, " For now, it is enough."

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