On the day our two oldest sons were being dedicated, a wind storm knocked out power at our church. Suddenly, instead of electric guitars and drums, there was almost silence in a room of about 400 people.
Someone thought to bring out a couple of camping lanterns and put them near the pulpit while our pastor stalled for a few minutes, waiting for the power to come back on and our service to return to normal.
Still, nothing. So, he did something a little unusual for a Sunday morning: He asked if people would like to stand and share how God had blessed them.
There, in the darkness, they began to rise from their pews. One was thankful for help with finances. One was glad that God is helping her family make tough decisions. And several told how God had helped them through illnesses.
As each one of them spoke, it felt like the room got smaller, more intimate. By the time my little family went to the front, it seemed the world had stopped and given me a moment dipped in gratitude and grace.
By flashlight, the pastor read the words of the dedication ceremony. And it was perfect, especially for someone like me — someone who too often allows the noise of everyday life to drown out the whispers of God.
Apparently I’m not alone, though. Many of the people who come to see Sue Staropoli are looking for ways to lead a quieter, more prayerful and balanced life.
“We’re so activity focused,” said Staropoli, a spiritual advisor in Penfield, NY, who teaches classes on contentment and taking better care of ourselves. “We under value the little things.”
Like an act of kindness. Like a crimson leaf falling. Like the sound of a sleeping baby breathing in and breathing out.
We can take note of those things, she said. We can train ourselves to slow down. We can change our lives a moment at a time.