The Quiet Place
Copyright Holly Jensen
August 3, 2005
The storm was raging wildly that day. No, I don't mean outside, but inside; like a tempest in a teapot, it was raging inside me.
The thunder shouted, "Be afraid. You're going to lose your car. You're going to lose your home."
The rain fell like the tears I could no longer cry. I had lost my dearest friend and I had money problems. I couldn't pay my bills and the mortgage was due. My car payment was over due. I had nowhere to turn for help or so it seemed. I had prayed and my friends new of my trouble, but they had done nothing to help. They had troubles of their own.
I decided that I needed some time in the garden. That had always helped before. It would help release some of what was pent up and threatening to boil over inside me. I worked for I don't know how long. Some of the tension was lessening, but the gardening wasn't helping in the same way it usually did.
Then I heard a voice. Well, I didn't exactly hear it. The words were like an echo inside me.
"Come. Come away with me. I will give you rest and help."
I thought perhaps the strain of the past couple of weeks, or maybe the son was getting the best of me. I'd never heard or felt anything like this before. I ignored the voice for a while and kept on gardening. Then it got stronger. The words didn't get louder, but somehow, the tone was more insistent.
"Come. Come away with me. I will give you rest and help!"
Something inside of me ached to obey. Was I going crazy or could it actually be that I was hearing God's voice? I laid down my gardening things and went into the house. Suddenly, I was so very tired. I sank into a chair.
"Okay, Lord," I said into the empty room. "I'm not completely sure I heard your voice, but here I am."
Suddenly, I can't explain it, but the room I was in just disappeared. I was somewhere else completely! Not only that, but I was laying down. I was laying on a bed that was so soft, nothing else I'd ever felt could come close to comparing. It was like the combination of a warm bath for tired muscles, being rocked to sleep by my mama, and feeling the warmth of a friends embrace. I didn't have time to notice any more than this because a voice sounded close to my ear.
"Sleep little one. Sleep, and then we shall talk."
I had no strength in me to protest or wonder what was going on. I slowly, gently drifted off to sleep with a rough, but oh-so-gentle hand stroking my hair and my cheek.
It was the most restful sleep I had ever had. I woke up slowly, gently. Just like the way I had fallen asleep. No alarm clock, no bad dream, no children clamoring for attention. The first thing I noticed were the cents of roses and of jasmine. They weren't pungent or nauseating, but soft and sweet. They were carried on the soft breeze that was blowing. I felt the bed under me and rather wished that I could slide back into sleep. But I was awake and somehow I knew I was done resting.
I sat up and heard footsteps coming softly toward me. It was then that I fully realized I was outside. I was in a garden. My bed was shaded by large trees that looked stately and strong. I hadn't time to wonder what in the world a bed was doing out in a garden because a man now stood next to me.
"Time to rise and eat," He said.
He led me to a table beneath another group of trees. Beyond the grove, I saw some of the rose and jasmine bushes that were wafting their lovely smells where ever the breeze carried them. I saw other flowers too and was mesmerized by the beauty around us.
The man and I sat down at the table. There were a loaf of bread and a flask of some red liquid sitting on it. As my host took up the loaf I saw his hands clearly. They were scarred. Not only by work, but there was one scar on each wrist that particularly drew my attention. Still slightly unsure I started to ask if, like Thomas, I could touch his side. But it was unnecessary. I knew what I would find there, another scar and this one from a spear. He knew I had finally recognized Him. He smiled at me, almost laughing with the joy that surrounded us both at the revelation. This was My King and He was breaking bread with me!
That was what He was doing at that very moment. He was breaking the loaf and passing some of it to me. Then he poured some of the liquid into a cup. I knew it was wine. At his nod, I began to eat the bread. As I ate it, and drank the wine, I felt something just as sweet as that hand stroking my hair and face. I felt cleansed; cleansed of anger, pain, frustration, grief, fear and doubt. I felt strengthened by the cleansing, like a weight had fallen off of me. Tears of joy streamed down my face as I finished the meal.
"Come," Jesus said, "Let us go and talk."
We walked down a path through some bushes. Oh the beauty of them. There were roses of all colors, jasmine, violets, and many others.
"It's so beautiful here," I said.
"Yes," he said, "And the the beauty will be here waiting for you when you come to stay."
I didn't let myself dwell on this because it would have spoiled our time. The path ended in another grove of trees. In this grove was a swing. It was a wooden swing, like those that hang on porches, except this one was free-standing. We sat side by side and began to talk.
I found myself pouring out my heart like I thought I had already done. I told Him of my grief over the friend that had died. I told him of the money worries that I could not seem to let go of. I wept with the feeling of release that swept over me. He talked of others who had faced grief and trouble. Mary and Martha had lost their brother. Peter didn't know how he would pay the taxes. The widow didn't know how in the world she would feed herself, her son, and this prophet who sought a meal. In every instance He had provided. The dead was restored, taxes were found in a fish's mouth, and because the widow fed the prophet, her food supply was guaranteed. All they had needed to do was believe and obey. He told me, to my sorrow, that my friend would stay with Him, but I would see him again. He said that He would take care of my money problems if I would just trust Him. I said I would try, but that I needed help.
"I Am Your Help," he said.
Then He rapped His arms around me. I had never felt a hug so sweet.
"It is time to go little one," he said.
When I began to cry, I felt His own tears dripping on to my hair. I didn't want to leave and I knew He wanted me to stay too, but it was not time for that yet. One kiss on my forehead and I was back in my kitchen still weeping. The faintest echo of His voice still lingered in my ears, a little like my daddy's voice and a faint cent of roses seemed to linger in the air. Still sad, but strengthened and refreshed, I raised my hands to the sky and sang a song of thanksgiving. I couldn't think of anything else to do.
Well, a little time has passed since then and things are better. I still grieve at times, but I know He is with me. The bank gave me an extension and the strangest things began to appear in the mail. Checks arrived that had been signed, but the signature was somehow blurred. I had enough money to make my car payment, both for this and last month, including the overdue charge. I still have bills that need to be paid, which probably won't change until I take my last journey and I miss my friend terribly. But I have learned a lesson that I hope never to forget. I have a friend that bids me "come, come away" and He will take me to the quiet place where only He dwells.