An empty room is silent. A room where people are not speaking or moving is quiet. Silence is a given, quiet a gift. Silence is the absence of sound and quiet the stilling of sound. Silence can't be anything but silent. Quiet chooses to be silent. It holds its breath to listen. It waits and is still.
"In returning and in rest you shall be saved," says God through the prophet Isaiah, "in quietness and confidence shall be your strength" (Is. 30:15). They are all parts of each other. We return to our deep strength and to the confidence that lies beneath all our misgiving. The quiet there, the rest, is beyond the reach of the world to disturb. It is how being saved sounds.
(Frederick Buechner, in Beyond Words)
This Thanksgiving I'd like to shut up for a few days anyway. Really shut up. I'd like to hear my family when they speak to me, really hear them, really understand what work is like for them, why they inexplicably care about who won the game (I'm not a sports person), what hurts, what the doctor said, how the missing or distant aunts and uncles and cousins are, and, once more, to hear my mother tell me a story she has told me at least 100 times because I need to, because it means something to her to say it again. I just need to shut up about myself and shut up my thoughts and really listen.
And I need to shut up and listen to God. I need to listen to why I need to be thankful. Tomorrow when I ride through the trees and down back roads on my bike, I need to listen and look at what is there, what I can be thankful for, and forget for a time what I think I need. I need to forget myself and be filled with what has been given me.
"Be still and know that I am God," the Psalmist says. I wonder if I can.