I have a confession to make: I am listening to Kenny G right. now. Oh yes.
My only excuse is that I first listened to this music when I was young and impressionable, and didn't know any better and the music dug a groove into my brain that remained ever after. Since then I must, from time to time and furtively, satisfy my craving for cheese-filled emo sax.
It's raining and outside my windows everything is slowly being filled by a soft pearly light as the sun rises unseen. The headlights of neighbors pulling out for their morning commute slide across the road in a long slick of yellow light.
Oh beautiful solitude! Oh lovely quiet house, how I love thee!
I saw a quote on facebook, it said: "A solitude is the audience-chamber of God." Walter Savage Landor said that, and I agree.
Sometime before our trip to Indiana, I was praying about it and before I had finished my worried sentence, He said, "I've gone up ahead of you."
I was all flustered. That's the not the first time He's interrupted me while I was still talking to Him. The first time I got down right annoyed at Christ for doing that. Now I pause, marvel and regroup.
He was with me, up there. For some reason, I was worried that He wouldn't be- almost as though I expected the presence of God to be a purely localized phenomenon.
In my mother-in-law's house there were pictures of Jesus all over the place. I was familiar with those pictures from childhood- the picture of Jesus standing and knocking on the door, the picture of Jesus with serenely folded hands, praying in the garden of Gethsemane. There was one picture of just His hands, outstretched, as though He were saying, take My hand.
The pictures actually bothered me, but only because they were merely pictures. Behind them was nothing but the paper they were printed on, and behind that the sheetrock of the wall and empty space. Jesus is not in those pictures, though they seemed to contain Him.
Many times during the trip I was drawn to the doors or windows, all but putting my nose to the glass, and longed and longed to go out, out into the solitude- to shake off the noise and bustle around me and step into the silence that is full of Him, the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.
I could not- it would be too rude. I had to turn away and be once more in the midst. He was there too, near me in the warmth and voices and TV sounds, but I couldn't concentrate on Him the way I can in the silence.
(What do you want to bet, that if I had been born in the middle ages, I would have ended up happily secluded in a nunnery, eating gruel, copying Bibles and decorating the edges with gold gilt, all content with my vow of silence, the passing seasons and the sound of the wind whistling in the corners?)
At night, I threw myself into Him with desperation. The first night, I was filled with extraordinary relief- You were with me! You were with me the whole time! I declared to Him, with joy. But oh, tomorrow... what will I do tomorrow, when I am exhausted and have even less resource to make it through?
And I felt myself cradled in His arms, as though I were very small, so I knew He would be carrying me the next day.
The next day, a conversation occured between Keith and his mom that was very healing for both of them, and the room was full of the presence of God. It was so full of light that the sharp edges of the objects disappeared into the haze of it.
As it happened, I marveled. Then the light and the warmth faded away and we were just people in a small apartment, talking.
Yesterday, as I was busying myself with cleaning and decorating the house for Christmas, I felt this incredible longing for Him. It was as though I were carrying the longing around inside of me. I kept thinking, I'll get this one thing more done, and then I'll stop and deal with this longing.
But then I couldn't stand it anymore, so I stopped everything in sheer desperation and I read again Psalm 63, that begins:
"O God, You are my God, earnestly will I seek You; my inner self thirsts for You, my flesh longs and is faint for You, in a dry and weary land where no water is."
When I feel such a longing for God, I am very thankful for the Psalms, which contain such phrases as:
"As the hart pants and longs for the water brooks, so I pant and long for You, O God.
My inner self thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and behold the face of God?
"Deep calls to deep at the thunder of Your waterspouts; all Your breakers and Your rolling waves have gone over me."
Psalm 42:1-2, 7
"My soul yearns, yes, even pines and is homesick for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out and sing for joy to the living God."
"Whom have I in heaven but You? And I have no delight or desire on earth besides You.
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the Rock and firm Strength of my heart and my Portion forever."
"I love the Lord, because He has heard my voice and my supplications. Because He has inclined His ear to me, therefore I will call upon Him as long as I live."