May 26 • 11:23 AM

Soaking up the silence

March 19, 2008
Every so often in the journey of life we're led down what Charles Swindoll once called the most delightful long-cuts—the green-pastures-beside-the-still-waters kind. When life gets so hectic you think you can't fit in another thing, along comes the one more thing, slowing you down to a crawl. And you have two choices: to chomp impatiently (and to no avail) at the bit, or to rest in the moment and reap the benefits of the quiet.

Not long ago, I had one of those times. Mike and I were sharing a vehicle for a couple of weeks. It was working out just fine—we would get him to work first; I would keep the car and have a little wait before and after my work. Sometimes I would do errands or work out at Curves. A few times I hung out at the Daily Grind with a cup of coffee and a book. O.K. I admit it. I also now know what their truffles, scones, and salads taste like.

Two experiences from that little parenthesis stand out in my mind.

One day, when I had a little spot of time and no errands to run, I was sitting there when my friend Connie Frank walked in. I mentioned having seen her picture in the newspaper article about the soup kitchen at St. Paul's Lutheran and asked how it was going. In her eyes shone the expression of a mother having just birthed a child. From the story in the paper, I'd known that, along with others, she was on the ground floor of this new venture. She couldn't say enough good about it, and though I've lost the napkin on which I jotted notes, I remember her say-ing that local businesses (Louie's in Capac comes to mind) have helped phenomenally, and that now all they needed was for people to come.

"Maybe you could put in a word for us. We know the need is out there—tell people not to be shy about coming," she said. "It isn't just soup either. We have nice menus. Last time we had cheesy potatoes. And if families with children come and we're serving something with which the kids aren't familiar, we're willing to work with them. We can always make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich."

One other day is memorable. It was the one day which had the potential for being extremely inconvenient for us to have only one vehicle. Mike had an appointment that had been on the calendar for a whole year. Having had ear surgery in Ann Arbor a number of years ago, he had a periodic check-up. At first I had thought of taking a day off and going along so we could spend a little time with young Mike. As it turned out, it was the week of his break, during which he had just spent as much time as he could handle at home (having figured out the vast difference between living at the end of a dead-end rural road and the middle of Ann Arbor). So I had opted to stay behind, and asked a co-worker, Ian Powers, if she'd mind picking me up at the Daily Grind on her way to work. I had a good book I was reading, and some studying to do, and I figured I was all set.

And I would have been. We had decided the night before to bypass breakfast at home, grab up a coffee and a donut for Mike for the road, and I would settle in from 6:15 to 8:30, contented to have that kind of breakfast there while I read. Only problem was, I forgot to grab my book bag from the back seat.

I did the word search in that little newsletter that gets delivered early in the moming. I bought a newspaper from the stand I had noticed the day before just outside the door, and read it (again—this time literally from cover to cover). And there was still time for my favorite pastime—people-watching. I listened as the gal behind the counter started a lot of peoples' day with a friendly greeting. From the banter, I could tell that for some it was a comfortable routine for starting their day. "Does she know how important her job is?" I wondered.

By the time Jan pulled up, I had soaked up a little reservoir of quiet—with enough to spill over into a noisy, indoor-recess day in kindergarten. A gift indeed.

Castle Creek
Milnes Ford
05 - 26 - 19
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