On Finding A Quiet Place

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On Finding A Quiet Place

There is a paradox in these hours spent awake asleep on the sea
Uncertain at what it is
Exactly
That lies below
Confident in what we see
The surface gives a nod with this very much alive
Twinkling
Like a million silly winks
Her countenance shines, her invitation to join her
We slap slap slap the wet wild surface, with little boat we trust
Like an old man slaps a toe-headed child’s back
In an overly familiar act of brutal love

We grant the mystery of the unseen
A sweet secret keeping place
We have seen them released to us
Confidence builders left as fragmented treasures
Gifts from the sea, encrypted letters
We read always, between the lines

We are here
By choice and grace
A combination which comes around in life
More often than I can count
Though it feels rarer than a left handed conch
At times
We must speak it, in unison
To remember it is true

We have found a quiet place
Gathering moments
Away from our shore
Lost for awhile
At the mercy of the mysterious
Deep blue sea

We must whisper it, in a prayer voice
To Him
In salty, sea-foamed gratitude

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Please join me at my new writing home, “A Quiet Place For Words”. A place I have carved our for pulling words through the blank canvas of the page. It is quiet there. And I am settling in and unpacking in this new place. Still blogging here, but making a home too for you and me in a subscriber only format. Click here to sign up (A Quiet Place For Words) It is free. I like it there. But more importantly, I hope you do.

Joining Sandra Heska King for Still Saturday

Where To Go When The World Gets Loud

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Where To Go When The World Gets Loud

I continue to ask him to turn the volume down. I want it lower and lower. Perhaps I want it off. I cannot tell you the guilt I do not feel. I should want to know about Iran and the agreement which is there but will be fought over and fought over some more. And I have opinions but not the energy nor the desire to opine.

I do not want to hear the news right now. I was raised to use my brain and discuss and wallow in knowledge and knowing. My Facebook newsfeed yesterday horrified me. I now know things I did not know before. I hurt from reality more than I used to. Hiding is for cowards. And yet, I have a choice. Because the bruising from the world leaves me diminished and I cannot be and make and do and love under the weight.

And yet when I stay away,  I cannot pray and cry out about the things which are wrong and bearing down. So I step in and step out. A paradox of fear and trembling and licking the wounds. And exposing myself. And trusting Him to refuel my soul again and again. That is a cycle. Therein is the cycle. That is the refreshing and rebuilding and restoring He is known for.

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I want to be wise and worldly and know. Until I don’t. The most interesting things orbiting around me are about Pluto. I ask him to turn the volume up. If Pluto were one of us, he would have a complex and wonder on his worth. Disney at least named a character for him. And they bury the story in the back end. A whole mass of creation which is in flux and looking for us to name it and give it its proper place in the systems of the galaxies.

They deem it a footnote. I deem it worthy of a poem.

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When the world is loud. Abrasive. And harsh. The garden woos me to herself. And my pen’s siren call to write promises me too, that indeed, yes, there is a place of comfort and quietude. Of gentleness. Sanctuary, like the psalms.  An economy of words. I heard too much and hurt too much from hearing of brokenness and pain. I want my words to heal. And so I retreat to create. I learned of cancer and dementia, crumbling and cruel, nemesis of the living. Again. Coming through like the enemy on the march. They like to stomp on all my people. Or so it seems.

Peace like a river is in the scriptures. And He gives so many the call to write. And to listen well first. To need and want to be alone in the tapping out now. To run it all through the sieve of the pen. For good.

Social media has blessed me beyond and beyond. That is a magnified beyond. But it is loud. And I crave quiet.

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Join me on Friday as I release my first tiny letter. A weekly newsletter for subscribers via email. I hope you like Letter Number One. New content not found on the blog. Prose, poetry, prayer, photography, quiet words of grace for us.

Click the link to subscribe to elizabeth w. marshall, a quiet place for words.

A Quiet Place For Words

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It was getting a little noisy for me on social media. I am still there, on twitter, instagram and Facebook. And I am on Tumblr and Pinterest too. And yes, I am here on my blog. My writing home. Thank you again for being here with me, always. But I have craved a quieter space. And I am creating one for us. An email letter from me to you, in your inbox, for subscribers who are interested in more poetry, photography, prose, essays and some updates on my journey into working toward my first published book. Don’t worry you haven’t missed much.

It is still early and there is no book. And the newsletter, it is not about that. But I may share a little of the high points of that journey. Dead end or success. I am excited to share with you that I am working behind the scenes on a book proposal. So there is that project. Along with this one.

A Quiet Place For Words. I hope you enjoy what you find there. (please feel free to subscribe, it is free. And then unsubscribe if you find it is not for you. I know how closely I guard my own email inbox. I get it. I understand.)

Click the link below to subscribe to my Tiny Letter. A once weekly, or less frequent, letter to be delivered to your inbox. Quietly. I promise not to make a lot of noise.

This little labor of love will be sent to subscribers next week. I hope you will join me.

Elizabeth W Marshall  – a quiet place for words

Even The Dog Is Tired

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I hear an echo in the hearts of the others. The ones that I know a little and the ones that I know well. Something tells me. Or they have told me. I would say maybe it is just me, but I think it is not. There is a wave of fatigue through the hearts of many. Maybe it is just me and one other. I know the dog is tired. That makes three of us.

Listening and engaging and bending in with most of the fibers of your being (some are reserved for survival) can wear a soul down to the nub. Being alive, fully, not just existing, is not for the faint of heart. And for those of us who feel deeply, overly-sensitive, deep feelers,  sensitized to all the things, we wear down and we wear out. We invest deeply and retreat to refuel. We love and listen and then seek time alone to find the strength to turn around and do it again.

I went to the mountains. Like John Muir and so many others, I had to. We all have a soul place. That place where we anchor. I anchor my soul by the water. The salt has its way with me most of my days. It washes into the folds of my skin, a welcome balm. My senses know salty. It is their normal. A needed, vital, constant element in my life

But the mountains are my gear-shift. The sensuous rounding of the hills, changes the landscape literally and figuratively. My breathes are deeper, subterranean below the water line. Everything is a rush of change to my senses. And I can see again. Smell again. Hear again. We anchor in and know we are home. Exhales give way to rest.

I am certain I did not hear it wrong. In fact. I am confident in these whispers. They are white noise to my soul, in their constant tickling, stimulating my creativity. Which tells my brain which tells my heart. The message is clear. Although they often come in another form,  as hard taps on my shoulders like God needs to step it up a notch with me to get my attention. Whispers work for some people, but frankly, I am not some people. Neither are you. We are fully human who we are. As we are. I need to be shaken, gently, sometimes. He always shakes me gently. Like a father pushes his child on a tree swing, gently.

I hear this banner over my life and it is trying to make its way into a bound spine. A pair of front and back covers. It is not as easy as it may have first appeared. I think the dog is tired of reading my body english. And there are thought bubbles over my head that only God can read. They say a lot. He knows, He’s read them. We both wait for the response. Most people just see a burned out writer. But the dog and God know me well. Ragged in the wanting. Worn down in the bending in to hear and wait and hear some more.

It comes in an unfurling. Messages from Him. Is it that way with you? I am waiting on more of what He calls me to. That is okay. It is just part of my humanity. I am seeking with all of myself. And trying to get out of the way. I am like a a human speed bump. I don’t know why i keep slowing myself down. But I do. I am going so slowly that I may not even be moving.

But He measures time and space and speed and productivity. I leave that to Him. I just know that I am ready to both work and rest. Listen and stop listening. Bend in and hear. And cover my ears to block the loud. And be quiet. And go about the work.

The world is a loud place. And I don’t want to miss a word of it. But this is my time to briefly step aside. Maybe for like 12 hours. Maybe a little longer. To savor the quiet. While I listen.

The speed bumps help me to notice. And that I know is most of what He wants me to pour into the space between the covers of this bound project. Noticing and living aware and alive and awake in the now, require more than being. They require rest too.

We must take deep breathes of rest, to turn around and notice all the microscopic wonderful of His creation. Rest. Pause. Restore. And seek a  recharging of our very souls. To re-enter. Without ever leaving. He provides our rest. He opens spaces and places for deep soul rest. He offers respite and Sabbath and an invitation into solitude and communion with Himself.

The dog is with me in the mountains. We are both tired. But He promises rest. Even to those He is still asking to write out a message of hope and love and beauty and grace. To the people. To His people. He is preaching to the choir. I am preaching to myself. It may turn out that the book was meant for me to write, so that I would read it.

I don’t know. Maybe two or three other people might need it too.

I know the dog is not one of the two, in this particular case. But he is a good companion and he seems to be cheering me on. In his own, tired way.