There is the silence of an awkward moment where neither party knows what to say. There is the silence of grief when words are not enough, likewise a joyous occasion where tears say more than words ever could. There is the excited silence that comes before a big event like a concert just before the performers come on stage or the curtains open. There is the silence that exists as we breathe in the gift of a day, minute, moment, cupping tea or coffee as we do so.
Silence can be a rarity in our day, surrounded as we are by children who don't speak, they shout (welcome to my life!). Then there are continual talk back radio stations, music, cars & transport, colleagues, the hustle and bustle of city life, the click of keys on computers, neighbours and any other noise pollution you can put a name to.
Silence has been written and sung about from Simon and Garfunkel ('The Sounds of Silence) to The Tremeloes (Silence is Golden). Some of us probably prefer noise because it distracts us and keeps us busy. This can lead us into a false belief that we are achieving something when we may not be. We're just not comfortable or prepared to deal with something right at that moment so we switch on the noise rather than switch off.
Silence can be mastered and can be a significant tool for self-reflection. Silence can be confronting and our immediate inclination may be to fill it to avoid dealing with issues that require our attention. But as we sit with our silence more and more over time we may begin to see that rather than being confronting it is a companion. This companion can bring to light areas of our lives that require healing, scenarios where we could have been kinder to self, or perhaps an area for self-improvement. Paul Tornier wrote; "Silence has the power to force you to dig deep inside yourself."
So...That spade that is currently going rusty in your shed or backyard right now, or the one that still has the tag on it...take it out and literally begin to dig deep. You'll get dirty, so avoid wearing your Sunday best. You'll have sweat running down your armpits and neck and into your eyes. Your breathing will become faster. Your heart rate will elevate and you'll thirst for water before long. But look at what's before you. You've dug yourself a hole that could be used for a variety of purposes. A compost bin, a tree, a new addition to the flower bed. Digging deep is hard work. Silence is hard work. But before long it'll have you longing for the water of life (Jesus) and you'll discover, I think, that there will be something to be appreciated from your efforts. Something that can be used for good and growth and beauty.
We have just recently remembered the death and resurrection of our Lord and Saviour. He died and rose again three days later. We may be inclined to think that those three days were empty and silent. I'd suggest that they were in fact full and life altering. During those three days, death was in the process of being defeated and a war was being waged, in which our King would reign victorious. Silence is powerful.
Pause in these weeks to not only reflect upon the life of Jesus and his miraculous resurrection but also to allow silence to become a companion. Avoid the temptation to push it away and fill it with noise. Welcome it and the growth that it may bring by digging deep into your spirit, mind and body with the help of the Comforter, the Holy Spirit. Allow Him to guide you as you quieten your spirit and face those areas that have been begging for attention for some time. It is in the silence we can be still and know that he is God.
Captain Jodie Pethybridge
Corps Officer Forster/Tuncurry
Australia Eastern Territory