Family / Kids / Life / Parenting / Spirituality & religion

Silent morning, holy morning



Every morning I wake up at six o’clock, half an hour before my wife and kids. I stumble – yes, there’s actual stumbling involved – out to the kitchen, toward the coffee maker that’s lit up like a friend, having timer-brewed my morning cup. I pour the steaming ounces into a thick ceramic mug, I slice a length of homemade granola bar from the pan on the counter and I carry these, along with my tablet, over to the couch, where I snuggle under a blanket I set out the night before.

I cherish these thirty minutes of doing whatever I want – checking email, catching up on Facebook, reading poems or articles online, or just exploring my own headspace, free of interruption.

Starting my day this way, on a little island of me, allows me to connect with myself before anyone else does. Though often I spend this time delving into mindless distraction, as the dark of winter deepens, as the frenetic holiday pace ramps up around me, I find myself longing for something . . . more. Today, as I read poems by Karen Skolfield on, that something arrived: silence.

Like cold pressing up against the windows, silence became a presence in the room, calling my awareness to the absence of sound: no giggling from the kids’ room, no humming refrigerator, no ancient heater rattling in the hallway closet, no air forced through the vents. Just me, alone, experiencing a quiet akin to peace.

Last night my nine-year-old son asked me, “Would you rather have peace or quiet?”

Our next door neighbor, over for a playdate, responded, “Aren’t they kind of the same thing?”

Kind of.

But how often do I find myself in “quiet” without experiencing one bit of “peace”? How often, when presented with an unexpected moment of quiet, do I reach for distracation? Even when I intend to cultivate quiet through meditation, eliminating distraction and attempting to sit with a calm mind for a mere ten minutes a day, rarely do I experience peace. My brain is too busy chattering.

“I’d rather have peace than quiet,” I responded, “because then I could be peaceful no matter what else is going on.”

Isn’t that the goal? The ultimate goal? To live like the sky holding clouds, constant and blue above the storm?

This morning’s silence lasted for maybe 90 seconds before the heater rattled back to life, forcing air through the vents like a held breath exhaled. But the sense that I was visited, that I was met by a peace that called me, all day that feeling has remained.


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  1. Peace. Inner and outer. It would likely lead to some quiet. Ideally, about the Duck Dynasty thing.

  2. Peace and quiet both would be lovely, but like you if I had to pick I would totally choose peace. There are rare quiet moments in the house, normally after the kids are in bed, but I found a bit of peace outside yesterday. The kids playing in the church parking lot across the street were loud, as was the traffic driving by, but I had a paintbrush in hand and a project to work on. Even with the noise around me I found a bit of calm head space, quite the rarity lately.

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