I cherish most the silence.
When the temple has cleared of worshippers and all have gone home to their lives and their work, the silence descends and I can hear You breathing.
This is my life. This is my work.
Sometimes I want to shake them, to put my face in front of theirs and make them stop their frenzied pace. “You want to hear Him? You want to see Him? You cannot know Him when you are always rushing. You must be still.”
You must be still.
The long years of loneliness have taught me this, and now I would not trade them for anything. In my youth I was like them, full of my life, full of myself and my plans. When my husband died only seven years after our wedding day, I nearly died with him. I could not stop grieving. I came here first to shake my fist and stomp my foot and demand answers. Oh, how I stamped around Your holy house, like a petulant child. I told You I would not leave until You answered me. In my childish arrogance I thought to punish You. I see now how You smiled at this, how You knew it would be my salvation.
They come here every day seeking consolation, performing their rites, obedient. But all the while their minds churn and their hearts flit from one concern to the next. They leave their gift and hurry off to the next thing, hopeful it was enough.
My heart grieves like Yours at the sight. I know now how You want all of them, how You would give all of Yourself to them if they would only be still long enough to receive. I have lived here in Your house long enough now to become old, to see that hope is a flame that must be kept alive by attending to it. Like a candle, it is snuffed out by quickness. It must be held, protected. It must be still.
This is my work: when all the rushing worshippers have gone, to hold the stillness and listen. To hear Your heart for them. To remember on their behalf.
And then I see her: the young woman standing in the court with the air of eternity about her. Quiet, pondering, listening. She has learned at a young age what has taken me a lifetime. She holds God in her arms.
Oh, that You would let me live to see this! I will take You in my arms too, and I will say Your name for all to hear. Here He is! For all who are waiting, here He is.