I long for a space of deep listening, but in my humanity, I can’t get there. My mind is too busy with mundane things. I can’t seem to still my soul enough to truly hear God speaking to me. I could surmise that the reason I do not hear is because God is not speaking. I could settle for a silent God that is simply not communicating with me.
But my faith knows better than that. The years of my journey of faith have taught me that God is speaking far more than I am listening. It is my task to find a space of stillness, to put my heart into that good place of solitude and peace. It is my task to get to that place that allows me to hear God’s promptings.
Author and contemplative Macrina Wiederkehr describes this for me.
And don’t we all, with fierce hunger,
crave a cave of solitude,
a space of deep listening –
full of quiet darkness and stars,
until finally we hear a syllable of God
echoing in our hearts?
And so I continue, searching for that “space of deep listening full of quiet darkness and stars,” listening for that syllable of God.
It’s a day with no words. I have contemplated hope, grace, kindness, worry, faith. And yet I have nothing to say. Perhaps my lesson is to listen, to sit in the middle of my own silence, to wait on words from God. And so today, I recommend to you a time of quiet meditation sitting in your own silence.
I think our deepest love finds its voice when we have run out of words to express it. There is no language that can capture what a lifetime has brought to be, the private journey of a single soul through the twists and turns of time. We are the sum of what we feel when feeling defies reason and runs to places no logic has ever seen. As careful as we are to wear our masks among the crowd, alone we know the untamed extravagance of a spirit that wants to care more than to control. So let us, each one, in silence share our truth, seeing in one another’s eyes the mirror of our own silent story. – Steven Charleston
Words are not always needed. Apparently I need to rest in this present reality. Perhaps I need to refresh and refuel and allow something fresh and new to rise up in me. Until then I have no riveting subject to write about, no words to share. And that’s okay.
“In Silence there is eloquence. Stop weaving and see how the pattern improves.”
Sunset in Alabama. Photo by Ken Lowery
Silence is beautiful in its stark simplicity. It can be more powerful than words. In my later years of life, I have learned to be quiet. My family is often baffled by my lack of words. But I have said plenty in this lifetime, some of which I’d like to take back. Maturity has brought me the wisdom of speaking only words that have a positive impact. I have discovered by experience that negative words hurt, both the speaker and those who hear.
The Bible instructs us on this subject in Luke 6:45. “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”
The instruction is a wise one. It reminds us that what is in the heart comes out in words. So the lesson really is to tend to your heart. Fill it with love and kindness and generosity. Then your mouth will speak only what is in the heart.
I am struck by this Arabic proverb: “Open your mouth only if what you are going to say is more beautiful than silence.” That is wise advice worthy to be heeded. If I speak, will my words share beauty with those who hear? Or is it better for me to be silent?