In this world without quiet corners, there can be no easy escapes‚ from hullabaloo, from terrible, unquiet fuss.
-- Salman Rushdie
While few of us would be characterized as purely extroverted or introverted, most of us fit into one category more often than the other.
I’m willing to bet that Mr. Rushdie, the well-known writer of this week’s quote, is primarily an introvert.
In order to experience happiness and feel productive, Rushdie must schedule into his day adequate time to process facts, conversations, and events. He’d probably tell us he feels stressed and off balance if he can’t find time in his day to think private thoughts. And, most likely, he prefers social engagements that include small numbers of people, enabling him to experience deeper conversations.
The faster our world processes information and the more connected we become to music and information, texting and public discourse, the more I see the value in learning how to create quiet environments, to find value in quieting our thoughts, and scheduling regular quiet time by unhooking from media at some point each day.
There is also great value in training yourself to focus on the sacred and the spiritual — on God, Himself. He promises that if we learn how to enter His very presence, He’ll gift us with genuine rest.
A growing number of medical experts have begun touting a similar message: Get plenty of rest! Aim for seven to eight hours of nightly sleep. They point to studies indicating improved relationships and increased weight loss for those who are dieting.
The rest our bodies require is much different than the rest needed by our souls.
One of my favorite books is “Simple Abundance” by Sarah Ban Breathnach. Her book includes an outstanding list of ways to rest your soul. This list includes things like cultivating an attitude of gratitude. Keeping your house picked up. Breathing deeply and often. Learning how to say, “no.” Savoring the beauty around you. Not answering the phone during dinner. Surrendering expectations.
I’m all in favor of this list. It’s appropriate for men and women, young and old.
Good stuff, I say!
But how can you allow beauty to calm your soul if you’re experiencing deep emotional and spiritual pain? Your spouse has just died. You are at odds with a family member. You feel guilty about an unresolved situation. You can’t see God’s work in your life or feel His touch. You cannot seem to find gainful employment.
These are the things that tire our souls and the very things God is there to soothe. But we must take some steps. We must be willing to get quiet. Read about God to understand the ways He demonstrates His love for us. Choose a mentor who has experiences with God, can listen to our frustrations, pray for us and offer helpful suggestions. Learn how to worship.
It’s a lifetime of discovery. But it’s time well spent for it will nurture a relationship that will rest our souls.
Joan Bay Klope can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.