Quiet Spaces author Patricia Wilson shares her recent experience of redefining what quiet space can be. Join Patricia and five other MyQuietSpaces.org authors on the January 2018 Retreat at Sea.

 

Patricia Wilson

I recently began a study program that required answering a number of personal questions at the beginning of each chapter. By the third chapter, I realized that this wasn’t the program for me. The questions were impossible to answer: they were predicated on the assumption that the person answering had enjoyed a wonderful childhood–white picket fence, two parents, puppy, and all. I didn’t have that kind of growing up, and the questions made me frustrated and angry. The program hadn’t taken people like me into consideration.

Sometimes I wonder if the same thing doesn’t happen when someone visits the My Quiet Spaces website and is presented with the idea of a “quiet space” for meditation and prayer. The assumption is that such a place exists in the person’s life.

I wonder if that person says, “I don’t have a quiet space! My life is noise, confusion, chaos, demands, deadlines, and duties. I have people all around me. I don’t have the luxury of a quiet space anywhere!”

My life has been one of change and chaos lately. I’ve found that I’m spending less time in my chosen quiet space than I would like. I felt the need to search for something else that would bring me the same sense of God’s presence.

This thought led me to the idea of another kind of quiet space. Not a physical space that is a comfy chair in a cozy corner, or a special bench in the park, but a quiet space that is without finite boundaries of either time or location. I’m thinking of a quiet space that is always with you, even in the midst of the turbulence of life. But where to find such a thing?

And then one morning, the daily reading from The Upper Room daily devotional guide gave me the answer. Here is what I read:

Many of us have images of God that prevent us from seeing ourselves as merely resting in God’s lap. But eventually words cease, requests run out, arguments stop, and we are invited simply to be with God. Not seeking a feeling. Not looking for an answer. Not actively imagining God, listening to God, or talking to God, but crawling up in the lap of Love, resting our head against Love’s breast, and taking comfort in that slow, steady heartbeat of grace that says, “This is where you belong.” – L. Roger Owens, What We Need Is Here: Practicing the Heart of Christian Spirituality

And as I read these words, I found my quiet space. In my mind, I pictured myself just leaning into Love’s gentle embrace. I rested. I breathed. In that small space of time–less than a few seconds–I felt as if I had spent eons in the loving arms of the Creator.

What an amazing experience. Here was a quiet space I hadn’t known about. It wasn’t in small periods of time between meetings or in my favorite chair on the porch. It wasn’t finite in terms of time or place. It was unconfined, infinite, divine.

In the space between two breaths, anywhere, anytime, I could simply allow myself to rest in my God’s love.

When I returned to my chaos and stress, I was rejuvenated, restored, and able to “do all things through Christ, because he gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13, NCV).