September 10th, 2005


The world is quiet here....

"The world is quiet here."

In Lemony Snickett's A Series of Unfortunate Events, this phrase is used as a password or recognition code by a (hopefully benevolent) secret society. It is inevitably found inscribed somewhere on or inside their safe houses (sancutary/study/training schools) as well.

It is at once a statement of purpose--"By our actions we oppose chaos and seek peace for the pursuit of good things"--and a statement of desire--"This is a place of refuge, a place of rest, a place of comfort and retreat, because outside these walls it is too noisy to find what we really need."

Sometimes, I long for such a place, as well. A location or person or state of mind where I can always retreat and find comfort. Not active comfort, but simply where I fit; or where I am my own self and nothing else; or where there is no fear or need for caution.

Perhaps it is too much to ask. Even in these books, it is: the first time we see the phrase, it is carved above the door of a safe house that has been abandoned, and is later burned to the ground.

Perhaps the moments when we do unexpectedly find that the world is quiet around or within us is meant to be enough. I want more, I want something reliable; but if I can't have that, I'll settle for the moments.

In fact, I deeply treasure those moments with friends or family or in prayer or creating, when I can truly say, "The world is quiet here."

I'll be grateful for that.