“…aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you,” (1 Thessalonians 4:11, ESV)
“Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.” (2 Thessalonians 3:12, ESV)
When I was a boy my mom and dad saw that I was full of energy. They were devoted to helping me channel that energy into something productive. When I was only twelve Dad signed me up to deliver the Dayton Journal Herald. It was a morning newspaper. I got up six days a week at five a.m. and pedaled around the little town of DeGraff, Ohio where we lived at the time to deliver those papers. It was good for me and got me in the life-long habit of early rising.
When the children started coming along I had to get up early to have a quiet time with the Lord. Now that the house is empty of children I have a lot more quiet and quiet places. I make my own noise. Lois doesn’t make much noise. She putters queitly about on her projects. Sometimes she talks on the phone to her sis or the kids. On a good day she sings or whistles. I take it as a good sign that she is happy. It’s a sound I like.
Bittersweet Farm is out in the countryside and it’s always quiet here except when my good neighbor begins his annual assault on the Maple leaves with his industrial-grade backpack leaf-blower. (Did you know those things are 500 dollars?) From September until the snow flies he will be at it. I don’t mind. They are wonderful neighbors. Across the road south of us is a deep woods. It’s a quiet woods. Sometimes an owl calls in the night or when the woods darkens after sunset. Coyotes call from the north woods beyond the two fields north of Bittersweet. On a perfect autumn afternoon I enjoy the treat of hearing the geese or cranes call as the pass overhead. The rain and wind and welcome noises. Of course there is the music of birdsong. Cars pass, but we all appreciate the comfort, efficiency, and wonder of modern transportation every day. We all have our own little private, climate-controlled cabin on wheels with which to explore the countryside while we are whisked to wherever the the world we want to go without reason and pretty quick, too.
North of us there are no houses for at least three miles. West of us is a deer preserve. A quiet couple live in the house east of us and keep to themselves. They are an acre away and they never make any noise.
At this hour of the morning I work in my loft or by the open window in the corner of my upstairs room and I am connected with the whole wide world with my prized 27-inch iMac. I love my fountain mens and Blackwing pencils, but the iMac is doubtless the best writing machine ever on earth. Here in the quiet corner, by the open window, I write with only the light the big screen supplies and it’s quiet.
The Journal Herald ceased publication in 1986. I have lived in Michigan most of my life and don’t have any plans to leave the state. I read the Wall Street Journal on my iPad and listen to The World and Everything in it on my phone for news. I don’t get up early to deliver the paper anymore but I still get up early and enjoy the good the quiet does for my soul every day.
I begin every day with this healthy self-indulgence before the demands and responsibilities of the day take over and I try to be a blessing to others. Soon I’ll go downstairs have have my coffee and oats. I have to tell you, it beats peddling around the neighborhood delivering newspapers in the cold rain or snow.
I wish you a good day today–a sting of good days. With the luxury of quietness in them.
October 14, 2021