It’s interesting what I discover in life’s journey when I am afforded longer periods of quiet.
This trip to Romania gave me that. Quiet.
Quiet simplicity was found in the ministry of the mundane.
Yes there was noisy bustling traffic and wild dogs barking at night and grandchildren who giggled with glee, but I wasn’t responsible for any of that.
The lack of responsibility resulted in my brain relaxing in a rare way. My thoughts were simpler and there was no phone or bustling schedule to remind me of the responsibilities of this life.
So as I went through my day, often with longer periods of quiet, pondering life and talking with God, I saw clearly for the first time my contribution in hurting someone.
I’m so thankful it was quiet enough for me to actually hear this truth. My friend Mary said if we step on someone’s toe by accident or on purpose, their toe still hurts and we need to acknowledge that.
I pondered Matthew 18:23-35 where Jesus tells the story of the forgiven yet unforgiving servant. The king forgives the servant of such a huge amount and then the servant goes out and starts choking someone who owes him a tiny amount. Much like we do. Much like I’ve done.
We’ve been forgiven of so much, yet hold such high standards for everyone. I discovered by focusing on the forgiveness I received that those offences by others seem trivial in the shadow of the cross.
So I was able to write a letter of apology and in my heart I was truly hoping the best for them. I was able to fully forgive their offenses against me when I finally acknowledged my part in it.
Then the resentment left and there came a lightness and peace I can’t even describe.
When I compare myself to others I can look pretty good, but looking at the cross is a different story. I purposed to start focusing on my forgiveness and the cross. I started listening to music that focused on the cross. I really took a look at my identity in the cross of Jesus and I’m excited about what I’ve discovered.
When I focus on the cross I am reminded of His sacrificial love for me. I am reminded of my humanness and I can humbly embrace it, instead of hating myself for my human weaknesses.
The cross forces me to realize there is nothing I could ever do to repay him and Jesus doesn’t want me to try to. I decided I wanted to bring back from Romania a sterling silver cross that would remind me of this quiet revelation in the glorious Romanian autumn.
I can now understand why one might find a monastery appealing. I’m pondering the idea of taking one day a month to just be alone with God, to be quiet and listen for several hours uninterrupted, to fast and pray and seek Him. Because in that quiet I hear God more clearly. I read the Bible and the Holy Spirit illuminates my mind and opens my heart to truth.
I don’t want to wait until I return to Romania for that quiet time without responsibility. If I am able to set my phone aside and have quality time with a friend….I certainly am able to do the same for the one who shed His blood for me.