“The quieter you become, the more you can hear.” – Ram Dass
I don’t know when or how this came to be, but Mondays are rest days for me. The “Sabbath” of my exercise schedule, if you will — which means no running, no biking, nothing. Normally I end up at home doing laundry or catching up on house stuff that I didn’t get to over the weekend. But tonight, I didn’t want busy work. I wanted quiet. However, the silence of an empty house wasn’t appealing either. So tonight after work, I made a trip to the bookstore, picked up a new book, bought a soda, and headed across the street to read at the park.
This was how my evening started.
After I cracked open my book and began to settle in, a lovely, blocky Black Lab halted his owner’s walk right in front of me. He tilted his head and raised his ears, looking at me quizzically. I glanced up, smiled, and greeted him. Seemingly satisfied, he moved on.
A few minutes later, a goose playdate on the lake caught my eye. Two families of geese – with eleven babies between them — made a line to the shore and headed up the embankment right towards me. One family settled on the other side of the walkway directly across from me. Nobody hissed or spit. They studied me with the same curiosity as the lab earlier.
Soon I was joined by other spectators — two little boys and a little girl. I set my book aside and chatted with the boys’ mother. I learned the boys’ names were Oliver and Noah and they were there to watch a friend’s t-ball game. Noah, as you can see, is quite savvy with his mom’s smart phone and enjoys making videos. The little girl was there with her dad and she was quite shy.
Eventually the geese moved on, as did the children. But I didn’t pick my book back up. I got the feeling I wasn’t supposed to. Rather, I needed to just quietly observe and be present. So I did. A few more walkers and dogs greeted me. A redwing blackbird fussed and pecked next to me. Eventually, two sparrows were underfoot, looking up at me, hopping under my bench. I’ve written before about my feelings about sparrows and their relationship with God. I’m sure in reality they were hoping I was a picnicker dropping crumbs, but they confirmed for me a quiet message that God had been trying to get across all evening: you’re not alone. I see you. Quiet yourself and you’ll see me, too.
Now this is truly a rest day.