the necessary pause
this sacred morning is anointed by quiet. it’s the sound of my soul breathing. which it certainly needs to be doing.
yesterday morning the cacophony came from the squawking of intercoms, and waiting room televisions cranked up to blaring, dialed to odd channels that give you a clue how the rest of the world stays tuned. on top of it all, the hollow sound of footsteps hard against hospital corridor. and the tingling sound of holding your breath.
this morning, the morning of saint nicholas at our house, a wintry sort of morning with half-lit sky and crimson berries still left on the bough (by nightfall my hungry birds might have plucked those branches dry), i am home alone and savoring the holy pause.
right in here, the pause is essential. is necessary. is filling up what’s been draining away.
i’ve said it so often i sound like a broken record, a record stuck on pause, on silent. but silence and lull are holy balm to me, are necessary to the going forward of the every day. i am soothed by downy-feathered sounds: the simmering of orange peel and clove, the ticking of my husband’s grandfather’s old dutch clock, the rushing exhale of the furnace that keeps me warm.
oh, i wouldn’t mind the crackle of pine cones on the hearth. or the tinkling of a teaspoon against the porcelain of the hand-me-down blue-willow tea cup.
i wouldn’t mind the poof of air when i punched down the cloud of risen dough in the old bread bowl.
but this morning i am far too lazy for ferrying in the logs, for dumping flour and yeast and melted butter in the bowl.
i am indulging in the lull of nothing more than the tap-tap-tap of keys. and writing, more than anything, is the potion i pull down from my heart’s apothecary.
i’ve been holding my breath for far too many reasons, for far too many days: a kid tromping around vienna (with three papers due by particular midnights; all turned in, all glorious. i should begin to learn to trust the procrastinating child); a mama who next wednesday will face the surgeon’s tool kit; a husband halfway across the globe, so far away, his day is my night, my day, his night.
so this rare morning of words and breath is just what i would wish for my best friend, if my best friend asked what might deeply cure the aching, the worry, the vivid dreams that unspool even when she wakes.
i do feel gathered here, knowing that in due time, and one by one, the chairs will be filled, and the great good souls who’ve woven hearts here, all will settle in, and offer words of tender wisdom, or simply the unspoken squeeze of hand to hand.
we are blessed, those who come here, those who understand the necessary pause. and how essential it becomes to fill our oozing aching heart with whatever balms patch us back together. whatever fortifies and sends us on our way, whole again, and emboldened to begin to ply the ministrations that heal the ones we love and hold together the scattered threads that begin and end at the very depths of our heart.
what are the sacred balms and potions in your heart’s apothecary?