It is dark when I rise.
From my seat at the window I watch the sky over the trees as it eases from black to gray; occasionally I see a streak of pink above the cedars, but the valley hides the sunrise and so it is just this gentle illumination that ushers me to day.
The house is quiet and altogether still.
I move Mary on her donkey one more step along her journey. She too is quiet, still.
A friend has written me to say:
I suspect our Lord gives us constitutions that complement the ways and means He has for us to glorify Him in the earth. I am thinking that God gave me a sensitive more introverted constitution for the purpose of worshipping Him through lots of time in prayer ... listening. Loving. My worshipful service to Him, I believe, is best when it is quiet, thoughtful, and hidden most (but not all) of the time.
I have carried this with me, pondering. On a card by my desk is #31 of Father Thomas Hopko’s 55 maxims:
Be simple, hidden, quiet and small.
I turn the words over like jewels and watch them sparkle. Is this how someone knows what she is made for? When the Spirit thrums a note so deep the resonance echoes for days in soul and body?
Mother Theresa used to say that "Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love."
I think of Mary again - a woman who did a great thing – but remained hidden, quiet, small. What would she make of our over-exposed age when the only things worth doing are those that bring attention, notice, praise? Would a modern Mary have done the lecture circuit? Written a book about her time with the Christ? Shared the seven secrets of life learned at home with the Savior?
I think not…hope not. Mary was a woman who carried Mystery and let it resound in the silence through ages. Her reverberating note lingers, envelopes me in the stillness.
What I really want to be is this morning’s sunrise, a gentle light illuminating dark. I want to be a harp note thrumming constant praise underneath the cacophony; a tiny yellow flower hidden in a vast deep wood; a precious ointment shimmering in an alabaster box, poured out on the feet of Christ in love. And when someday I go home to God I hope to leave behind a trail, marked with the faithful foot scuffs of a woman who was not afraid to let the mystery of Christ speak loudest in her silence.