Saturday I attended a Prayer Retreat where I gathered with about 15 other ladies from my church to spend the day focused on God. The theme for the day was silence and solitude. After a brief introduction to the activities for the day, the silence began. We listened to a reading by Anne Graham Lott (daughter of Billy Graham) and then split off on our own to pray, meditate on scripture, and enjoy the beauty of creation.
As I sat quietly in the shade of a tree reading and praying I was struck by the lack of silence. Yes, there were no cars, no voices, no ringing telephones, no hum of machinery; but when all of those things fade away silence doesn’t reign. There was the song of birds, the sound of leaves falling, the hum of cicadas, the whisper of a breeze through the grass and trees. But instead of the sounds of a hurried life I was surrounded by sounds that filled me with peace, that allowed me to relax, that drew me into prayer at the recognition of God’s majesty. Times like that are hard to come by, the times when I can truly be still and know that He is God.
Our silence was broken when we gathered for lunch, and, honestly, it was kind of awkward at first. It was a bit jarring to even hear my own voice after three hours in which quietness abounded, but we quickly settled into the hum of conversation that is common when women come together. The afternoon was spent in fellowship, sharing about our experience in the morning, group prayer, and taking Communion as a group. It was a wonderful day that I left feeling refreshed, relaxed, and ready to see Matt and Little.
Not long after I got home this strange wet stuff started falling from the sky; it’s been so long since we’ve seen rain around here that we almost forgot what it was. But when the rain came pouring down sideways it didn’t take long to figure out that we were in for a storm. Thunder and lightning started ripping through the sky, and soon our power flickered and then was gone.
While the rain was coming down hard, Matt took Little out under the carport so they could see the rain (and be in the cool since we no longer had a/c). They walked up to the edge of the area protected by the carport roof and Little enjoyed feeling the water on her skin as the wind blew the rain around. After we’d been outside a minute or so, a huge clap of thunder rumbled through the clouds. I thought Little might be scared because it was such a loud and sudden noise, but she stood there quietly until it passed and then attempted to mimic the sound the thunder made. It was so cute to see and hear her enjoying the downpour.
About an hour after the rain started (5:30ish) we were still without power, so we headed off to find some dinner and a cool place to hang out for a bit. After dinner we spent a few minutes at the bookstore and then headed home because it was getting close to Little’s bedtime.
We were hopeful that the power had been restored while we were gone until we turned onto our road and saw the neighbors out on their porches and driveways. Let’s just say that when it has been around 100 degrees for several days and then your a/c goes out it doesn’t take long for the house to get hot. Matt lit some candles and we sat at the kitchen table (with the sliding doors open) and read until it was too dark to read by candlelight. The day’s silence had returned as we sat quietly reading in a house devoid of all the sounds that are powered by electricity.
The power came back on about 10 (it had been out for over 5 hours at this point). This time when the silence broke I was pleased because it meant my a/c compressor was kicking back on, and we were able to settle in for the night as the house cooled back down to a comfortable temperature. Sometimes I take the conveniences of modern day life for granted, but Saturday evening I realized just how much I would miss my ceiling fans, air conditioning, and electricity if they were taken away.