The Gift of Quiet

The pre-dawn hours of the morning are magical in their own special way. I experience the gift of this mysterious part of the day while driving through the winding back roads of several small towns located west of Boston on my way to St.Joseph’s School. My passenger is a delightfully content seventh grader – easy to please with a cold chocolate milk and hot bagel sandwich. Our scenery is breath-taking – misshapen stone walls built long ago, vast fields of trees and green grass which turn color with the changing seasons and the beautiful, magnificent gift of quiet. A few years ago I might not have appreciated the quiet, but thanks to my beloved mom Joan, it is my favorite part of the day.

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On this particular morning I ask my passenger to turn off the noise on the radio, so we can enjoy the quiet of the ride together. (I find that some days I just need this in order to start my day in peace.) He happily obeys but instead of turning off the radio, he unexpectedly switches on the CD player. As we pass a particularly scenic field, a melodic Russian piano tune overtakes the speakers in the SUV. The beauty of the music matches the beauty of the outside winter scenery and I am instantly transported back 5 years to the time and place where I bought this beautiful music.

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We were walking arm in arm, looking at all the wonderful displays at the craft fair in Barnstable off historic 6A in Cape Cod. We were searching for gifts for my sister who would soon be returning from London with her family. Suddenly, Mom was drawn to a booth with a handsome gentleman playing a piano – Sergei Novikov from Russia.  Mom was mesmerized by the beauty of his music and instantly bought several CDs for us. “His music is so beautiful and peaceful – it brings rest to the soul” she said.  Imagine my surprise to hear this music played on my morning drive to school yesterday – it brought tears to my eyes and so many precious memories of my beloved mother.

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As I thought about Mom’s love of Sergei’s music today, I realized how much the quiet meant to her. Mom had evolved to a place where she cherished the gift of quiet as a way to energize her body and her spirit. The beautiful music aided her in giving herself this precious gift of time spent doing nothing at all. Many of us strive a lifetime to become strong enough to just stop and “smell the roses” but Mom actually did it. She became wiser, more compassionate and faithful because she took the time to just be – that is the real gift you give yourself. That is when you truly grow into the person God created you to be.

In today’s hurry up world this type of action is not always valued. But listening to Sergei’s music yesterday brought back so many wonderful memories of my beautiful and wise mother. She always knew the best path to take – perhaps not the easiest, but certainly the one that led to lasting peace and happiness. Taking time for quiet prayer, reflection or just to be is essential in today’s crazy world.  It allows a person an opportunity to contemplate life and with God’s help, make decisions for moving forward in peace.

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I encourage you to turn off the noise and notice the beauty all around you!  It is there in the sparkling Christmas lights, early morning frost, setting orange sun and fresh fallen snow. It is also there in the beauty of a melodic piano song – close your eyes and just listen. Perhaps you will open them and feel a bit refreshed and ready for the challenges ahead – like Joanie, who continues to show me that she is still very present to all who call on her.

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