Skip to main content

Hear the Angels Sing

I took a bath today. That's not a terribly uncommon thing, especially when Adam works late. I made a cup of tea, chose the bath salt that best tickled my nose, found an in-progress book that I wanted to finish (all ordinary) and then plugged my phone in in another room and walked away from it.

My tea was delicious, despite going undocumented. I found a way to mark the page whereon was a quote that I wanted to make note of, and to remember a word that I needed to look up. When I checked my phone afterward, there was nothing on it but a single Instagram notification.

I am new to the smartphone thing. I had a phone that called, texted, and took grainy pictures before - the summer I spent in New York, if I was trying to find someplace and my previous research failed me, I targeted someone who had just finished a conversation on their smartphone to ask (if they didn't know the answer, which they often did, they had the ability to look it up for me). Just after Brooklyn was born, Adam gave me an old iPhone of his with the SIM card removed, thereby rendering it an iPod Touch. I fiddled with Instagram and stayed very current with Facebook and email for about a year and a half - until it died, just before I started my 31 Days challenge on Jen Hatmaker's book 7 (it wasn't ironic timing at all).

But after four months of spending my lunch/Brooklyn's nap reading quietly on the balcony, and filling my other spare time with writing and knitting, my old phone died. And I succumbed to an iPhone, ostensibly so that I could Instagram photos of busy toddler Brooklyn and brand-new Tobin for the sake of out-of-town grandparents.

Admittedly, I've always taken lots of pictures of things - it's how I remember them, and I enjoy going back and looking through my collection of memories. And I appreciate the way that social media has somehow made it acceptable to publicize things like what-you're-having-for-dinner alongside gorgeous sunsets. But when my "camera" has internet access and a host of useful-in-their-place apps, it becomes a bit more perilous.

There's been a disquiet in my soul of late. I started noticing it when I set out to knit a washcloth a day for a month (not a "project," just a reasonable quota for the deadline I'm meeting), and discovered exactly how reasonable it was if I knitted instead of, say, scrolling through Twitter.

So I've been making changes. No phones at meals. If I eat alone, I bring a book (lifelong habit, to my mum's chagrin). I'm on the launch team for a couple of books, so I figured out how to get the pdfs onto a Kindle (the old school kind) so I could read them without distraction. Even right now, I've maximized this page so that I don't have tabs or toolbars hovering around the edges of my screen.

The book I chose for my bath was Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, a gift from a friend who knows me well. I read the whole section on Permission, which was particularly poignant at the moment. And as I was toweling off and staring at the cover, a distinct shade of pink stood out to me as a song lyric drifted through my mind. Hush your noise, ye men of strife, and hear the angels sing.

That color became associated with those words for me over six months ago. At the time, it didn't make much sense, but I filed it away. In this context it swirled over me with her thoughts on the near-sentient nature of inspiration, the ordinary sacredness of creativity, and the idea that immersion and passion matter more than influence and platforms. 

"Sometimes the world tries to knock it out of you, but I believe in music the way that some people believe in fairy tales. The music is all around us. All you have to do is listen." There's a reason August Rush is one of my favorite movies - the reminder to listen is one that I need periodically.

As the Advent season of anticipatory waiting begins, I think of waiting as a verb, not as something that just happens to us. If a host of angels suddenly appeared in the sky, singing, would I even notice? But the shepherds did, and recognized it as the answer to a question that had been left hanging 400 years earlier. Because they were waiting - anxiously, eagerly, desperately - hearts wide to receive good news and ears open to hear it.

My complaint of demotivation and lack of creative genius falls under the same umbrella as my cry to God about how He never answers my questions - and both probably have the same solution. Hush your noise, ye men of strife, and hear the angels sing.


Lynn S. said…
Wonderful. Perfect timing!

Popular posts from this blog

31 Days of Unraveling Designs

It's that time of year again... the 31 Days writing challenge starts today! Bloggers from all over will be writing every day of the month of October on the topic of their choosing. This will be my fourth year participating - the first year I did 7 for 31, and spent a month going through Jen Hatmaker's book 7. The second year I did 31 Days of Sustainable Dwelling, and wrote about local and fair trade living. Last year I was busy but still wanted to participate, so I went the easy route with 31 Days of Everyday Beautiful.

This year I'm diving into my greatest passion: knitting! I'll spend this month looking at past designs and talking about the inspiration behind them, so there will be plenty of regular life mixed in with the stitching - and there may be discount codes for the patterns that I write about. You'll just have to read and see!

Pattern index:

Pageturner Mitts
Hogwarts House Tie
Urban Artemis
Graffiti for Humanity
Love Out Loud
Strange Jacket


In order to change your knitting, you must first change yourself. I've lost track of how many times I've said that, or how many people I've said it to. Frustrated new knitters wondering why their work is loose or tight or uneven or really anything less than perfect. But something I love about knitting is that it's a record of your inner dialogue. That swatch knit at the yarn store table with a cozy cup of coffee and a helpful (and more experienced) knitter nearby is going to be a lot more relaxed than the sweater begun a week later while sitting next to a hospital bed - just like the knitter.

Unfortunately, this also applies to my own knitting. For years, I was apparently unaffected by the shifts and turmoils in my own life, so I assumed that I was exempt from the rule - when the reality was, in fact, that I wasn't really experiencing any of those on anything deeper than a surface level because everything was deadened by depression. When I finally started to really…


A few years ago, I was introduced to the concept of replacing the traditional list of resolutions with a single word. It appealed to me - I am not a big list person, but I love language and words and meanings and etymology and metaphor and... ahem. Ennyhoo. I liked the idea.
I've never chosen the word. It's always presented itself to me - and last year was no different. Pacific was very insistent, even though I tried to argue with it. Pacific? What does that even mean? What am I supposed to do with that?
But I accepted it, and I'm glad I did. I learned about depth and calm, about storm and nurture, about faith and adventure - and about the unstoppable ocean of God's grace, that overwhelms to fill and cleanse and bring blessings unasked.
So I'm bidding pacific a very fond farewell, and welcoming spark and whatever lessons it would like to bring. I invited it in with a copper wire punctuated with tiny lights and wrapped around my mood board, and I've got an empt…