Regards, best wishes, and metaphors,
Regards, best wishes, and metaphors,
By Cecily Jane
I am waiting in silence.
Perhaps it is not true silence. I can hear myself licking my lips. I can hear the soft bustling of the air conditioner. I can hear the faint ticking of the clock on the wall. And once in a forever, I hear the scraping of a shoe on the carpet, the rearranging of a suit coat, or the wriggling in a padded pew.
I lick my lips again.
I'm not hungry this month, but then, it's only the first hour. This place has a way of leaving your stomach empty.
What I am is thirsty. So thirsty, that I'm trying to think of things that will water my mouth enough to overcome the dryness.
If I left this room, it would take me only half a dozen steps to find a drinking fountain. They don't turn them off on a day like this, and I've often wished they would. Instead, it sits there, perhaps giving its own gentle hum as its machinery stores water and keeps it cold. If that's how such things work. I do know that it hums.
It would take less than ten seconds to get there, push the button, and get my fill of water. And if I left this building and took a five-minute drive, I would have glasses and pitchers full of water. Not to mention cupboards full of food.
I have so much that I don't use.
But I am not at home. I am here, in the silence, and as the clock ticks out the seconds, I stay. I listen to the stillness. I speak to the One who made both my tongue and that water it craves. I hear the shoes against carpet as they come closer and closer, and when the noise stops, I lift my eyes to the tray I know will be there.
I take a piece of bread.
I pass the tray.
On normal days, I am happy to take it. Today, it is stealing the few drops of moisture that I have.
No, not stealing. Receiving. No one else put this in my mouth.
The piece is almost too small to chew, but I always chew it anyway. I know what it means. I also know what it means to me. I remember.
The shufflings of shoes have stopped, and before I can get a few more silent words out, the silence is broken by words spoken out loud.
No, not broken. Filled. Edified. Sustained.
And the words, now spoken, melt back into silence. I am pleading now, even as the spot on the back of my tongue won't moisten. But I am not pleading about that. There are many other things I lack. So many other things.
I know why I am sitting here. I know it down to my bones. I would do anything to be here. I just need longer in the silence. I have more things to say. I have more promises to make. And I need more time to wait, and to listen. There are so many things I need today.
There's a nudge at my arm, and I look up. The tray is exactly where it should be. I give a weak smile as I take the thimbleful of water and let it pour through my lips. I pass the tray and keep the water on my tongue for a bit. I know what it means. I know what it means to me. I know that today, in this moment, it is more than it ever was.
I open my eyes today. Other people have my tray and are partaking of it, just as I did. Now it's their tray. Our tray. It is the small amount of nourishment that we share together.
My throat is so dry that I can feel every drop slip through it. It is all that I will have for a long while, but I'm not worried about that. How can I? If I had taken more than that thimbleful, I would have drowned in it. How can I worry about that when I have only a few precious seconds of silence left?
There is so much more to say. A lifetime of things. But I am not sending any words out, not even silent ones. I am waiting for the words that will come to me.
I was hungry, and I was fed. I was thirsty, and I was refreshed. But I am hungry and thirsty in so many ways. I could be lying in a sea of fresh water and still crave what I crave now.
The silence will soon be filled with pleadings just like mine. It will be a series of vignettes made by those who hunger and thirst.
But this is my time alone, and I am listening. I am waiting.
And then, I'm not waiting anymore.
I am receiving.
There is more in this world than bread and water. You can survive on bread and water, but there is more to that in living. You need more than a beating heart, if the heart is empty.
I know it again this month, but then, this is just the first hour. This place has a way of leaving your heart full.
And what I am is full to bursting.
There is a silence that teaches. There is water that lives. There is power that speaks to the fleshy tables of the heart.
I know this now. I know it again. And I am full enough to let the silence leave me. I am primed and ready.
In a moment, I will be wading in living water.
*There are several things that make this less than factual. First of all, I was late today, so I took the sacrament in the foyer. Second, it's a fifteen minute drive home. Third, "cupboards full" really means a cupboard and a drawer (I don't eat much at home). However, I was actually as thirsty as I depicted myself. I was drinking a tall glass of water as I typed this.