Written by Gary Taylor
I went to Crema Coffee Shop. The overstuffed red chairs in the back corner caught my eye. The ideal place to drink my coffee, read, and journal. It's been a busy week and my mind needed a quiet place to re-center.
I plopped down in the chair. Literally plopping down, butt first, dropping all my weight instantly and heavily onto the vinyl seat cushion. I mention this detail because my plop expelled trapped air with a loud and embarrassing, trombone-like blast. There's no other way to describe what happened: Imagine my 270 pounds crashing down on a giant whoopee cushion.
A few people looked up, I blushed and mumbled something like, "Really...it was the chair."
So that's how I began my time of silence. Perhaps if I had eased into the chair, it would have started differently, more quietly. My long exhale would have been more noticeable than the "long exhale" by the chair, if ya know what I mean.
In some ways, that scenario accurately describes my time spent in intentional silence and prayer. Not sounds of bodily functions, of course, but how noise and commotion sneak up in unexpected and unwanted forms.
If you have ever tried to set aside time to get quiet and pray, you know that it's difficult to find quiet places in this world, and especially in your own head. I can't recall a time that I ever "instantly" plopped down into a mental state of focus before God. It always takes a few moments to mute the clatter in my mind. Realistically, silence is eased into.
My suggestion for you: Ease into a time of silent reflection by planning ahead. Determine in advance the time and the spot to read Scripture and pray. Scan the day and pick out your ideal red chair. But show yourself some grace when you struggle to overcome the distractions and sounds in your own head. Ease into it today. Ease into it over the next week and beyond.
I believe that if you and I diligently pursue moments of quiet with the Lord, we will eventually be able to take the red chair with us wherever we go. A calm will begin to characterize even a stormy day.
And when people ask you how you remain so centered you can say, "Really...it's the chair."