a time to be silent and a time to speak
Ecclesiastes 3:7b (NIV)
Silence makes me uncomfortable; I know how to fill it. Nervous, I can prattle on endlessly. Neither am I good at being still. There is power in stillness; we dancers convey as much by stillness as by the most dramatic movements. Silence, stillness require great trust. I am working on trust.
As a younger person, less clear about who and WHOSE I was, “peace and quiet” made me uncomfortable. I needed to be doing, saying, or hearing something. Oscar Wilde famously wrote “with age comes wisdom”…I hope so.
To the question what one thing has helped you before that could help you again, my answer was
granting myself permission to be still to hear His Voice.
Last Sunday, weary and overwhelmed, I did the opposite of what I would ordinarily do (read “meltdown”). I retreated to be silent and still. It freaked the kids out just a little. I went upstairs to the dining room while everyone else was in the library, put on some quiet music and sat perfectly still, eyes closed in a straight backed chair. I cleared my mind and sought God. At some point, each of my children came up to investigate. My mommy(spidey)sense stopped them in their tracks. One claimed she thought I’d fallen asleep (I hadn’t), the other thought something was wrong. Clearly, I will need to teach them to worship in silence. I sat 20 minutes. When I rose, I remembered how richly silence and stillness bless me. I was better. (Gotta do that again. You should try it. Read what Margaret Feinberg writes about Silence here.)
I faced one of my greatest fears-quiet. I do not know why it bothers, me, but I suspect that overcoming this fear will not be about filling the silence. Overcoming this fear will be about embracing quiet. We fear silence. We need not. Only yesterday, a wise friend taught me a lesson about silence I desperately needed to learn; to embrace, to remember.
God is silent in the bible more than He speaks. While He is silent, He is never still.
There is blessed elegance in God’s order. This is my time to embrace silence, to learn from silence, to move closer to God through it.
As always, He prepared me to be here. I looked at my list of 10 and thank God that my declaration to “meditate, with my body at rest, at least 30 minutes daily” (#6) and “actively practice the presence of God” (#7) are practical steps in achieving peace with silence. He knew I’d be here. There is so much to be learned in silence…I am off to be quiet.
On Tuesdays, I pray and and play with friends here...