For the first time in months, I am experiencing a quiet moment. I suppose that I have had plenty of quiet hours in the car by myself throughout the fall, but this is the first time that I have been still, silent, with a hushed heart and nothing vying for my attention.
There are different types of “quiet.” Awkward silence. Screaming silence. Pregnant pause. That stale, uncomfortable deadening that occurs when there is no fan, no noise machine, as I try to fall asleep. Our culture tends to see “silence” as something bad, something to be avoided, and so we are constantly bombarded with an onslaught of stimulation. Noise, activity, electricity.
It is so overwhelming. There is no escaping the flurry of action.
And so when I find myself alone – alone – in my parents’ house, in the aftermath of the busy hubbub of Thanksgiving week, filled with family and friends and food, I breathe. My sisters have each gone back to school, my dad is at work, and my mom has flown back to eastern Washington to be with her father as he dies.
I think of him this morning, old, sick, and uncomfortable. He has known that death is inevitable – but do any of us really think that it is coming for us? I wonder what is going through his mind, if his heart is gripped with fear or with peace? I suppose he has been given a gift in knowing that he is going – so many are not given the advantage of this knowledge – but along with this understanding, does terror come? I hope not.
God only knows what the coming week holds for my family. In the meantime, I am soaking in the quiet, and praying for the peace of my dear, sweet Grandpa.