I love rain storms. Rain storms are the pause button to my schedule. Maybe it’s baseball or football that keeps you busy – it’s soccer for me. When the rain comes, my schedule comes to a grinding halt.
“I’m bored. What can we do?” the boys always ask.
“Fill the emptiness,” I answer.
“With what?” they persist.
“With big and little thoughts,” I think. “Press in to the quietness. Let its peace be like a soothing balm rubbed into the cracked and worn feet of my soul, soothing my walk, giving me rest.”
“’This is the resting place, let the weary rest’”; and, “’This is the place of repose’”–but they would not listen” (Isaiah 28:12).
“It is important to learn how to handle nothing-ness,” I answer. I go into a great story about back in the day when I was their age, only 3 TV channels existed. On a rainy day we built card houses, watched NASCAR races, played cards or board games. . . read books. On sunny days, porch wall jump-offs, sidewalk roller skating, tree climbing, daisy chain construction, bee catching.
We never uttered the words, “I am bored.” If we gave them a mouth-full of whine, they gave us an afternoon full of chores. We wisely kept our complaints to ourselves.
“Solitude is painful when one is young, but delightful when one is more mature” (Albert Einstein).
Where do you go when nothing-ness comes? Where is your Pausing Place? Pausing Places – a place to sit and let nothingness wash through, like clear water in a rushing stream – clearing away the debris of my soul, clearing away for freshness and new growth.
My back porch, during a rain storm – that is one of my pausing places. Sometimes it is my kitchen when no one is home – and I can throw myself into the cooking and think about life without interruptions – while making something wonderful for my boys.
“Solitude is such a potential thing. We hear voices in solitude, we never hear in the hurry and turmoil of life; we receive counsels and comforts, we get under no condition”
(Amelia E. Barr).
Other times, it is wrapping myself in a blanket, curling up with a good book and my knitting. I would read a bit, knit a bit. That happened the other day. My son flung himself across the end of my bed – and just looked at me.
“There’s nothing to do,” he said, baleful eyes woefully wooing me to create “something” for him out of nothing.
“I’m having a great time,” I said. “I’m loving this. I’m sorry there is nothing you want to do – but there is plenty you can do. But – I am not going to let your frustration mar my nothing-to-do-time.
“One of the most important things you need to learn is how to find peace and joy in the nothingness of a day,” I gently coaxed.
He wallowed a bit more, making sure I knew he was frustrated. I wouldn’t be baited. I sent him on his way.
Filling each moment with him-centered activities does not prepare him to live a fully enriched life. If they do not learn to embrace the quiet times, in the stopping times later, they might fill those moments with harmful activities – just to fill the nothingness.
“In returning and rest you shall be saved; In quietness and confidence shall be your strength” (Isaiah 30:15)
One of the most important skills in life is to learn how to embrace those pauses. My boys, well, they need to learn how to make something out of nothing. Their day is so chocked full of activities they become bewildered when they face, what they think, is the Great Monster Nothingness – which I have discovered to be a great friend.
Learning to turn nothing into blessing – what a great life-skill. Bring on those rainy days!