Saturday morning I was rudely awaken by two cats and a dog, the cats were standing one on my chest the other on my pillow both with their own noses in my face telling me it was time to eat while the dog stood in front of the sliding glass door with her hair standing on end barking at the 11 turkeys found in my back yard. I thought "Wow did I oversleep?"...NO it was a little after 6:30am on my Saturday (my Sabbath) and I just wanted to sleep in! At first I yelled at the dog to stop barking and leave the turkeys alone, pulled the covers over my head and flipped over so the cats would scatter, but no sooner than they darted off the bed they were right back and nudging their way under the covers. I gave in and climbed out of bed, stumbled into the kitchen, and feed the animals. At this point I was up and out of bed so I figured I would get myself ready for the day.
I wound up getting to campus very early to take a walk before stuffing some PantherPacks (we'll get to those later!). So I walked in the cool morning, noticing how happy the birds were that the sun was out and the weather was beautiful. The Blue Jays were the happiest in general, but walking under a tree I heard a robin, probably the happiest bird I have ever heard (even beating the Prairie Warbler. This bird was jumping from branch to branch, chirping, and telling the world how happy he was! I smiled, stopped, and looked up, not realizing anyone was around until an older woman said "He's been that way all morning, I just love it." She startled me, but I was glad that I got to share the joy of the happy robin with someone else.
As I continued my walk I found myself at the Point (place on campus where you can see 3 bends of the Ohio River). This is a place where I have spent many hours in dialogue with God, sometimes happy, sometimes not so happy. But this time was different for me, I went and sat on my rock, and silenced myself. I leaned back, closed my eyes, and listened to creation. I heard the birds, the river, the boats, the cars driving by, the folks on their morning runs and walks, and the creatures rummaging in the woods. But I also heard the silence of my own heart.
This had been one of those "was that really only ONE week?" weeks for me, and realizing that I needed to just slow down and just be on this Saturday, the day in which I have made a Sabbath, I went to a familiar place and had a new experience. When I looked at my phone I realized I had been sitting there for over an hour. I can promise you that is the quietest/stillest I have ever been for an hour, and it was an hour of letting things go. An hour of just being in God's creation, an hour of not thinking about homework or school, or the things I needed to do, or the people I was worried about, or the excitement of things to come, I was quiet, I was still, and I was open to the power of the spirit. I didn't have any big revelations, God didn't speak some huge life changing lesson, and I did not expect anything to happen. I was simply there, I was aware of creation, I was with the Creator, and I was resting.
After this time of resting relaxing I headed over to do some service work. We packed 400 bags with food to feed 100 elementary aged children over the weekends for the next month. This is a program that Hanover started this year and works to help the children but to also raise awareness on poverty within the campus community as well. I was humbled to be asked to be a part of the council for this program, and was able to be a part of this particular stuffing session from the arrival of the food all the way to the delivery of the packs to the school. It was an experience in and of itself to push carts full of these "PantherPacks" down the hallway where the children learn. It was humbling to see how many folks came to stuff these packs and contribute to the discussion that followed. I look forward to seeing or hearing about the long term effects this program and others like it have on children in the years to come. This isn't a permanent solution to poverty in the area, but it is making a difference in the lives of 100 students this year and that is worth praising God for.
I was a lot quieter on Saturday than I usually am. I took in a lot of what was being said, done, and chirped. I enjoyed the silence of my own self and I thoroughly enjoyed tuning in to the sounds of the world around me. I hope to continue this challenge of listening to the world around me, maybe this will become one of my Sabbath practices, who knows...but I challenge each of us to remember that being rooted in Christ is different for all of us, and each of us have to find our own voice, our own roots, and let them grow deeper.
Peace and silence to you all.