The value of the quiet day

What a day without noise can do for us.


It’s too quiet in here.

That’s what it feels like when I have to take a sick day. I woke up with a sore throat (truth: it was sore yesterday, but I worked anyway because I felt like I had to). My nose was runny and I had slept poorly, with busy, disturbing dreams. The world is a bit of mess, and there are times when I take the mess with me when I try to rest, and nothing good happens as a result.

So today I had to take a quiet day.

Quiet is that time when I feel restless because there is literally nobody here, nobody watching a baseball game or playing or making noise. I live with my husband and our eight-year-old. There is nothing quiet about this house, except when I’m home sick during the day, alone.

The gift of the quiet day eludes me. I want to be busy, getting things done, having a list of accomplishments, no matter how small. Instead I pull out a container of noodles and tofu I’d prepared on Monday, tossed it into a wok, stirred in a few extra veggies, and sit on the front porch looking at the trees while I have my lunch.

Later in this day I will go outside and walk. There will be people and dogs on the trail near our home. But I will stay quiet.

When I am quiet, I understand more. Quiet is a gift.

We are wired to be busy. But it is the days when I am quiet that I can really listen. I work with leaders who plan their lives in thirty-minute increments. What happens on the day when all that structure melts away? What can we do to notice what we have when we don’t have what we thought we needed.

Today, the quiet is a gift. It has given me a walk in the woods, albeit with a sore throat. It has given me time to breathe more slowly. It has given me time to think of life transitions happening now, things I want to be fully present to experience. It has given me the gift of less structure so that I can have more appreciation for what is there right now.

This is the gift of the quiet day.

June 16, 2023