My Handful of Quietness
Better is a handful of quietness than two hands full of toil and a striving after wind. (Ecclesiastes 4:6)
It is striving after wind to attempt to write a post, and it never comes alive for you, the words are only vacuous and tired sounding. It is striving after wind to write when your little daughter comes in and glares at you, and snorts something to the effect of, “on that keyboard again…? hmmmph!” It is striving after wind, to write something flattering about your husband online, and have him break your heart saying something like, “well, how about some of that in real time?” It is striving to continue, because then the outward life becomes as hollow as the inward one. Your words become just more empty wind whistling down the internet byways.
It is striving to continue to try to write when your main computer becomes infected with pernicious malware that makes it a botnet of the nastiest possible kind. And the next computer opens up to a hopeless black, and you peer into the void of hardware failure. It seems worse than striving, it seems like fighting against God, when you attempt to type on an ancient wheezing model, and its gape-mouthed keyless typepad swallows your words as you write them.
So I ceased striving and submitted to the discipline the Lord gave me this summer. I chafed at first. My blog was getting its highest traffic ever, and some helpful links, but it was a vanity of vanities. As Carl Trueman writes here,
We mediocrities struggle at a different level, hoping that our own petty contributions, irrelevant and ephemeral as they are, will be puffed and acknowledged by others; and, in a sense, there is nothing we can do about that. I am a man divided against myself; I want to be the centre of attention because I am a fallen human being; I want others to know that I am the special one; and as long as the new me and the old me are bound together in a single, somatic unity, I will forever be at war with myself. What I can do, however, is have the decency to be ashamed of my drive to self-promotion and my craving for attention and for flattery and not indulge it as if it were actually a virtue or a true guide to my real merit. I am not humble, so I should not pretend to be so but rather confess it in private, seeking forgiveness and sanctification.
So I saw God’s wisdom in His chastening of me and ceased striving. I accepted my portion of quietness, and sought His kindness for true and lasting repentence. So after a summer filled with camping trips, and getaways to inland rivers and vacations to Aunties houses, and very little virtual reality, and a lot of real-time laughter and conflict and thorn-pricks from wild blackberry vines as buckets become brimful–and love-cups even better filled. So now I am back home.
The fog seems cosy now around my little bungalow. I do not need to escape the record cold temperatures here anymore, as our Indian Summer promises heat. The last remaining computer I can actually type with was healed of it’s seeming hardware malfunction with a judicious piece of duct-tape, placed where a missing screw left things jiggling and threatening to short the whole shebang. I am content with the lines that have fallen to me, yes even with the collapse of the lines on the graph of my blog’s stats. I am not puffing myself anymore. I am back only to tell the stories of His faithfulness to me. For the Lord has done great things for me and
I have told the glad news of deliverance
in the great congregation;
behold, I have not restrained my lips,
as you know, O Lord.
I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart;
I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation;
I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness
from the great congregation. (Psalm 40)
There was a time for silence but now it seems good for me to speak again. I still have more stories to tell.