"There is no need for you to leave the house. Stay at your table and listen. Don't even listen, just wait. Don't even wait, be completely quiet and alone. The world will offer itself to you unmasked: in raptures it will writhe before you."
Recently, I had some young girls for lunch and we selected questions from a "chat pack" to talk about at lunch. One question read, "If you were a punctuation mark, what would you be?" We had fun with that question and the girls were introspective. I chose a comma as my personified punctuation mark because mostly, I am finding the need to pause ever more important.
The above quote may want you to throw your SUV keys, or your laptop, or your cell phone at the author, but it is true that we all need this kind of time on a regular basis to heal us. We don't like it very much and it isn't easy but, truth is, we need it.
Now, more than ever we can be always connected and we all know it. We are probably all suffering from FOMO, today's disorder, the Fear of Missing Out. I often take several hours at a time to unplug but recently I took a whole day and didn't check email or FBook (deliver us oh Lord, now you can shop garage sales on Facebook???) or Instagram or my blogs. I didn't text or call and it was tougher than I thought. For a long time, I sat at various places in the house and yard and attempted to listen.
Most of the time, there is no rapture, there is no writhing. Kafka was obviously better at this than I am. Sometimes I just figure out what to make for dinner or think of someone who might be lonely and in need of a handwritten note. Sometimes, I face my fears and tell them to back off or think of how I could respond in love rather than defensiveness during my next family conflict.
I tried this in a classroom recently. The kids were creating some art to go with a story and I told them we would be perfectly quiet for about 5 minutes to see what thoughts came to our minds. After 5 minutes, the timer went off and one little boy said, "Can we have more quiet....PLEASE?"
Teachers, mothers, children, pastors, CEOs,artists and others, we need to pause, to become the comma, and to listen. So go ahead. Try doing diddly. Follow it up with squat.
God loves us and wants our attention.