Our family flew across the country
to visit Quaker grandparents,
have them meet and actually see
how our young children had grown:
She was seven, he just three.
First Day meant we’d all attend
meeting—it was their day and way
of contemplative worship in silence.
Our children were accustomed to
programed music, a time for children
and carefully prepared sermons.
While Kim was old enough to sit quietly
as instructed, Jeff required explanation.
I told him what to expect: long silence
and what it would really mean to me
if he could just sit and look at the book
we’d brought. Neither of us would talk.
We’d make no disturbance or noise.
He could lay his head in my lap for a nap;
that was alright for young girls and boys.
I knew I was asking a lot of my child
and my fingers were crossed as again
I told him how very long it would seem
nothing was happening, but I assured him
how pleased I’d be if he could be very still.
The hour hand moved slowly ahead
while nobody spoke or prayed aloud.
Both children were honoring the silence.
I was amazed, admittedly a bit proud.
My grandparents had to be as well.
As the hour was nearing a close
with only five minutes left unspent
Jeff nudged my arm, looking up
at me. I bent my ear to hear him whisper,
“Mom! When’s it going to begin?”