A couple of weeks ago I was invited to lead a service and preach at a little country church, I have come to love. One of the prayers spoke of living a quiet and peaceable life. As the words passed my lips, I started a long ponder about “a quiet life”. The ponder has continued for a couple of weeks now.
On the one hand I love a quiet life. I am an introvert of long practise. I love to be alone with my thoughts. I love to read and I enjoy a rich inner life. Quiet is in many ways my preferred mode of being.
On the other hand, I have a creative and entrepreneurial nature which thrives on new and often chaotic ventures and adventures.
This duality of natures leads to a ‘push-me-pull-me’ kind of existence. It leads to seasons of fallowness and seasons of frenetic activity.
Lately thing have, like the Eastern Front, become quiet. I have had several morning Bible Studies with no one or one or two members. Our usual team of helpers at Loaves and Fishes was down to Linda and me. A fellow could get disheartened, but this is just a quiet fallow season! The reasons for the lack of people are basically twofold: success, and death.
Early this week I had lunch with a former student, who did his practicum with me some ten years ago. He asked me if anyone was still alive from those days. While I could name a few many are no longer with us and I don’t believe any were the age I am now. I have been rehearsing all the core folks who have died over our time in Uptown Saint John. Early death is a sad fact of life in our community.
I have also been thinking about all the people who no longer join our studies because they are succeeding in life. Folks have recovered and found jobs. They have taken on new responsibilities and are contributing to their community. I still see most of them and they remain in the Street Hope orbit but they are no longer at the core of our activities together. A quiet life is the price of success, theirs and God’s!
So I shake off my initial impulse to self-pity and enjoy this time when I can have deep conversation with one or two at a time. Experience tells me that there will be more activity just around the corner but that God is working even (or especially in) in my quiet periods.