I love the sound of quietness. Many people would say I was crazy and that is ok. It does not matter to me what anyone says about me anymore. Of course, I appreciate compliments or good remarks, but negative ones do not define me. I suppose you reach an age that such just does not have a place in your life, and in reflection, never should have.
As I sit in my recliner paying no attention to anything around me, I am jolted into a memory caused by the sound of a train. It is rolling along on the track, the clanking of the wheels is soothing and the whistle calls out to the night. Like a light being turned on at the flip of a switch, I am taken back a few years when my life was facing certain change; a door was closing. I found my bed to be that of a pallet of blankets on the floor beside my father’s bed. We, both, enjoyed staying up late and talking the last hour before time to turn in for the night. He would fall asleep before I would and I would lay there on the floor beside his bed, the darkness illuminated only by a night light in the hallway, listening to the silence.
During that time, I would pray and be thankful for another day with him and then I would cry knowing the end was near. I would reflect upon my childhood and how he cared for me; now I was caring for him. I could have slept in the next room on a bed, but I did not want to. I wanted to be close to him; it was for him and it was for me. I imagined scenarios where he would need me during the night and if I was in the next room, I would not be able to hear him. Also, I did not want to miss a minute of being close to him, as I knew the days were numbered and sooner than later, the opportunity to lie on the floor beside his bed would be no more. Every morning around 3:00 a.m., the whistle of a train would pierce the night, followed by the clanking of its wheels on the track. That train knew where it was going. I did, too, and there was no turning around from the destination that lay ahead.
So in the quietness, I would appreciate the time to prepare myself, if there is such a thing, for what lay ahead. It allowed me to regroup and think about who I really was and who I wanted to strive to be. I do not think we get enough quiet time and as a result, can begin to lose the concept of our depth. Society is so involved in the tug of war of expectations placed upon each of us by our own demands or what we allow from others. Sometimes, there is not much of a choice in the matter. However, many times we choose to be subservient to our own detriment rather than protect that which is sacred to our heart; our own well-being. It is not selfish to care for yourself, although there are many that would argue that point. It always makes me wonder how a person becomes as callous as to interject their own expectations without regard for the other person. I am convinced we all need more quietness and self-reflection.
A favorite Bible verse of mine frequently reminds me the importance of “Being Still”. I am a patient person by nature, but the times spent with my daddy at the end of his life taught me the importance of being still. I understood every moment that passed was one I would not get back and I did not want to miss a minute. I was very adamant about being with him round the clock, but I was also absorbing the preciousness of the quiet talks, the quiet times tending to him, the quiet prayers. God and daddy encouraged me to be still, to slow down and take in life’s blessings and appreciate every moment of every day. I often struggle with pulling back the reins and letting life “be”, but I am conscious of the necessity to do so.
The day came when I rolled up the blankets that had taken a home on the floor, washed them and put them away, and I went back to sleeping in a bed. But things have never been the same and never will be…..not that it should. I still enjoy staying up late and the quietness of the night around me; I suppose for more reasons than just one now. My thoughts often turn to the wonderful conversations I shared with my daddy and I draw strength and guidance from that. Even as an adult, we never get over needing our parents. I am thankful I had that strong relationship to reflect upon to help show me the way through my daily life. I am still learning how to be still, but the quiet of the night when the day has settled and the world is sleeping and gearing up for another round of chaos, I am soaking in the memories of what used to be and using that to strengthen the core of who I am. The whistle of the train in the middle of the night will always be a reminder to never take this life or those you love, and love you, for granted. In the quietness, you will hear far more than ever imagined.
I’ll see you on the flip side………