The past ten days have been a whirlwind of activity. I was in Texas for my best friend’s wedding and all the accompanying celebrations. While I was there, I had the chance to spend time with my family and friends in Houston, Galveston, Austin, and Waco. Each day was filled with fun and meaningful moments as I celebrated not only her marriage, but also a family birthday, a reunion with my pilgrimage friends and friends from my church in Waco, and also caught up with another best friend who is pregnant with her first child.
It was a full, rich time of laughter and joy, and I’m so grateful for a job that allows me the flexibility to travel like that and for family and friends that helped make it possible.
I’m an introvert, or at least I lean that way. When I’m at home, I take about an hour each morning to just sit by myself in the quiet and charge up for the day. This is the time when I pray and read scripture and drink coffee. I work from home and am not actually around many people most of the time, so it is easy to meet my introverted needs.
Over the past ten days I still made time to recharge, but I was also aware that any moments I spent alone were moments I wasn’t spending with people I love who I just don’t see that often. So, I chose to adjust things.
I had to find time for quiet and reorienting in the midst of fun, full days.
We went to the beach one afternoon in Galveston. At one point I went and stood with my feet in the ocean and no one followed me. So, I just stood there. I watched the waves while they and the wind filled my ears. I don’t know how long I stood there, but it became a sort of meditation. That particular day it was the first time I had turned my attention toward God, and it felt like taking a gulp of cold water and finally acknowledging how thirsty I was.
My parents and I cooked the food for my best friend’s rehearsal dinner. We spent hours in the kitchen the night before and it felt so comfortable to be back there doing the thing we did most nights of the week when I was growing up (just on a much larger scale).
I took on my favorite part of any fajita or taco bar: the caramelized onions and peppers.
Over the past year I believe I have perfected this preparation. It isn’t hard, but it requires an enormous amount of patience. To really get them right, you need a hot pan, butter, salt, pepper, and 30-45 minutes. In this case, this had to be multiplied enough times to feed 50 people. My parents took a load of food and decorations to the church and I volunteered to stay behind to work on caramelizing. By the time they got back I had completed one batch and had about four to go.
As they walked out the door, I turned on a podcast. Within minutes I had turned it back off, knowing that I was craving silence. I wanted to hear the veggies sizzle and pay attention to them transforming. I wanted to focus my prayers toward my friend and her soon-to-be husband as we moved closer and closer to their wedding day.
As I stood there and stirred, I felt like I was back on the beach with my feet in the water and sand.
As I think back over the past ten days, I am aware of all the moments where God was present. In the laughter. In the conversations with people I have journeyed with at so many key parts of my life. In the love of those relationships. In the provision as I drove or rode all over Texas. In the gift of energy to be present to each of these moments.
Part of what allows me to be aware of all that are the moments I spent in silence. The moments I slowed down even for just a few minutes and turned my attention toward God. As I thanked God for the waves. As I thanked God for the caramelized peppers and onions and all the people who would eat them the next day. As I thanked God for a flexible job and the resources to make such a trip possible.
It can be hard for me to slow down and embrace silence. It takes practice. When I do though, I discover God is present, ready to nourish my soul’s deepest longing even when I don’t know how much I really need it.