Distraction and Focus
Words and life have always been synonymous for me. I struggle with small talk, and with what I would call ‘gushy’ compliments. I find words to be weightier than gold and, though they are essentially valuable, they sit on me heavily when there are too many.
Last night as Rich fell asleep, I realized that I was living in the deafening silence of God’s voice being drowned out by people’s words. In these two weeks of reality and being home, his voice, never one to compete, has been overpowered by the noise. I have given too much attention to the voices of others, and it has been a distraction and a dilutant to what God is doing.
I take a moment on the bath mat that has become the prayer mat, and I start to seek God’s face. It begins with me chiding myself for losing focus, until he asks, What do you want, Jaci?
You, my God.
Before I want purpose, I want you.
Before I want my loved ones, I want you.
Before I want to serve you, I want to hear your voice, your heartbeat.
You are the one I want, God.
I am reminded to make God my utmost desire and the delight of my life.
In the words from Song of Songs, I speak:
“I know I am so unworthy-so in need.”
And he replies:
“Yet you are so lovely.”
Teach me again, my Darling, I ask.
Teach me how to seek your face.
Teach me how to find you.
And God speaks back to me as a I continue to read:
“Listen, my radiant one-
if you ever lose sight of me,
just follow in my footsteps where I lead my lovers.”
And from Proverbs:
“The starting point for acquiring wisdom
is to be consumed with awe as you worship Jehovah-God.
If you wait at wisdom’s doors,
longing to hear a word for every day,
joy will break forth within you as you listen for what I’ll say.
For the fountain of life pours into you every time that you find me,
and this is the secret of growing in the delight
and favour of the Lord.”
And as I seek him, I find him, and he is right about the fountain of life! Today dawns, and I have found my focus. I’m skipping into battle - joy does break forth as I hear him speak.
We leave home with a song on our lips, and we are surrounded by friends as we arrive at the hospital. Kiara relishes in the distraction of the giggles and games, but then at 2pm, we are called to get ready. As she strips off her play-clothes and wraps on the gown, her words become less liberal and more purposeful. She is asking pointed questions to sharpen her focus. When the nurse arrives to fetch her to theatre the butterflies dance in disorderly fashion in her tummy. She waves goodbye to Dad, and this is it.
“Does it feel like the moment before you go on to stage?” I ask, holding her hand as they wheel her down the passage on the bed. She nods.
I remind her of the first time she ever danced on stage. She was only five and it was a massive theatre at the Wild Coast Sun Casino. I thought she would be terrified, but she loved every minute. She didn’t smile at the audience - she just danced her heart out with a determined and poised look on her face. Afterwards, I asked her if she was nervous.
“I loved it so much! I wish I could do that everyday!”
The theatre is state of the art, and I’m looking around, impressed, expecting her to ask her usual inquisitive questions. But she is not distracted. She is focused. She says nothing, other than to answer the anesthetist’s questions with sure confidence. She opts for a drip rather than the gas. As he injects her, she squeezes my hand, not super-tightly as with nerves, but firmly as if to reassure me. She looks at me and I paint her a picture. Words to climb into to find her focus.
“You’re on the stage now. No time for nerves. The curtains are opening. You’re looking out at the audience, but all you can see is the bright light shining in your eyes. You can’t see any faces, but you can hear your Dad’s voice shouting, go for it, Kiara!”
Her grip weakens and she is asleep. She has not fought it. She has focused herself to surrender.
And that is where she still lies, on the table. We are trusting that no news is good news. We wait, in the glorious silence of having found his voice, in having found our focus.
Scripture from The Passion Translation:
Song of Songs 1:5, 8