“Hello darkness, my old friend
I’ve come to talk with you again”
–Paul Simon, The Sounds of Silence
Our fifty pound puppy Max is trampling through this old house at the speed of sound. The floors groan in protest at such slip shod treatment. Down the stairs and around two corners and he dives for his hidey hole—plunk…. plop. The space that once fit his so nicely, underneath our dining room buffet, now forces him to scrunch down low to enter. But once there, he sprawls and stretches to match his entire length and width to the confines of his hidey hole. He is safe from the torments of his world, which mostly come from his sister Maddie. And within the sounds of silence, he falls asleep as his head rests on the floor.
Like Max, I retreat to catch my breath, to release dark thoughts and to breathe in the aroma of fresh possibilities. When I empty myself, it gives God room to work a miracle, maybe not overnight, but over the space of my life. Breath by breath, I work to quiet the riots fighting for attention in the streets of my mind. I expel the darkness so it no longer eats away at my soul. Nightly examen is a refuge against the goblins of the night. And it helps me see those sneaky solutions that come by special delivery, from an angel of light tapping me on the shoulder.
As I write this, two of my friends are seeking asylum from the dark cares of their world. One has packed up her two cats and a pile of books to go sit out by a river that runs near her country cabin. Another runs with music in her ear and the wind in her face. As she runs, I envision her becoming lighter than air, as the weight of anxiety and troubles lag far behind.
I’ve written both friends this week to let them know they are not alone in their cares. The words I normally devote to this blog were offered yesterday to the friend who runs. I needed her to know that I was cheering her on from the sidelines, just as if she were running the Boston Marathon, because the kind of trouble she faces may not be solved with a quick sprint. And after she empties from all her running, I invited her to surround herself with all that makes her most whole. As I always do, I invited my dear friend to breathe.
“Breathe dear friend. Breathe in the aroma of the living God—breathe in the fragrance of spring grass and flowers and salty ocean air. Run barefoot on the sandy beach and let the water lap around your ankles. Let the breeze caress your face and dry your tears. And know that God is not “up there somewhere’ but as close as the air you breathe, that fills your lungs and rests around your heart.”
Through the sounds of silence, healing will find both of us… as well as my other friend who sits by a running river and Max who rests under the buffet. Wholeness will come to those who wait, even in dark hidey holes.