For the past year I have been listening to a lot of Audrey Assad’s music. I discovered her first album “The House You’re Building” during my last few months in England. Her album “Heart” came out during my last semester at Kenyon. The songs carry memories of each time. Her first album I played while walking to high street for groceries, while sitting in my flat watching the sunlight filtering through the spaces in my curtains, and while walking through a lush green park behind my residence Lafrowda where bunnies hopped, a duck patrol begged for food, and I collected my thoughts. Her second album I played a lot while writing papers, trying to find a center of calm with which I could do my best work.
Audrey Assad is labeled as Contemporary Christian artist. Her songs contain religious imagery, but she also has literary allusions. I enjoy the honesty of her music because she writes from her experiences and her background. She shares her story and her love of musical expression, presenting her messages to God or messages about life in beautiful, compelling metaphor that a lot of people can connect with.
I chose to focus on her song “Slow” because it’s one I’m really connecting with right now. I’m reading “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” by Susan Cain. It has made me really think about the positives of quietness. Even the times I’ve embraced who I am and my natural quietness, I still measured myself against more extroverted ideals. Spontaneity and an abundance of connections with people were the gauge of a healthy life “outside of your shell.” I know that I do need to break away from fear that’s caused by low self-esteem and I do need to reach out to people, but I think this time in my life needs to be devoted to slowly and quietly working at my goals. I am not going to have a lot of boisterous outgoing experiences. I have to build a new community of connections and that takes time, at least for me, and that’s okay. Also, to write a story, to work hard at getting a job, to excel at my internship, to practice driving, it’s going to take some persistence and discipline, so not a lot of distraction is a good thing.
The quiet is also a good time to reflect. I can now see thing more clearly now that I’ve stepped away from the frenzy of activities and emotions that I went through my last year at Kenyon. I’m glad for the happy memories I had, but I know that with my present mindset I could have really excelled. So I am going to put this contemplation to use right now.
“Slow” by Audrey Assad speaks a lot to contemplation. I pray a lot for God to be there and to guide me, but I can miss that God is there because “You’ve drawn so close/ That it’s hard to see you/ And you speak so softly/ That it’s hard to hear you.” Taking the time to reflect and be quiet, I can recognize God’s presence, something that can be lost in a flurry of performance and activity, trying in vain to make things happen when a less cluttered mind would show me the way.
“By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to set out for a place that he was to receive as an inheritance; and he set out, not knowing where he was going.” – Hebrews 11:8
This scripture also speaks to what I’m going through. I am also on a journey, going somewhere but not knowing where. I’ve graduated from college and am no longer on the education track that had discernible markers of accomplishment and work expectations. I know people who are following paths of employment and other goals that are clear to them, but I am still unsure of what the future holds for me. Yet that does not mean I am blindly heading toward failure or that I am failing right now, though there are times it feels that way. All I can do now is step by step make my way with small goals and tasks, believing that with each step I am making a life, even if the big picture is unclear and all I have to rely on is faith in God. So:
“Faith is not a fire/ As much as it’s a glow/ A quiet lovely burning/ Underneath the snow/ And it’s not too much/ It’s just enough to get me home/ Cause love moves slow/ Love moves slow.”
That slow, quiet, and persistent manner is all I have right now and it’s all I need. Slowly I move with enough faith to make it where God knows I am headed.