Here we are, a mere two weeks into Lent, and I’ve been failing miserably at my resolution. Granted, giving up the What I Wore Sunday link-up has been pretty easy and more freeing than I thought it would be (not to mention that the first Sunday of Lent I was on retreat with 700+ middle schoolers and what I wore to Mass was really dressed down). But my other Lenten resolution, for 15 minutes of completely uninterrupted silence a day, isn’t going quite so well.
Ash Wednesday I was able to have 15 minutes of silence…though I checked the timer three times on my phone to make sure it was working properly. It turns out that shutting my mind up is a lot harder than I thought it would be. The second day of Lent I did a little better, lasting a full 10 minutes before checking the timer. Then it all went down the drain. Trying to find 15 minutes to be completely silent while being the youth minister in charge of 16 teens on a retreat with over 700 middle school students is about as difficult as it sounds. So, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of the retreat the silence either didn’t happen or happened as I was falling asleep. Even if it happened while I was falling asleep I’m not sure you could really count it, since I was more focused on passing out and not yelling at the teens above our room who were pounding on the floor than I was on actually hearing God’s voice.
After having failed miserably at being silent, the Monday following the retreat I completely forgot about being silent. The Tuesday after the retreat I got really sick and slept 14+ hours that day – that counts as silence, right? Being sick and in bed for a few days meant that I had a great amount of time to be quiet, though my silence was more out of a need to sleep and let my body recover than it was out of a need for prayer and reflection.
Since then I’ve gotten better about silence, but Lent has been a bit of a rocky start. I’m not one who doesn’t do well at things, I’m a perfectionist at heart, so my early Lenten struggles were frustrating. I’m learning that we all have a need for silence. My life gets so busy – work, blogging, social media, friends, family, and the like – that I forget to really hush up and let God speak. I’m good at saying my Rosary and going to daily Mass and giving Him some time, but this Lent is showing me just how much I struggle – and sometimes fear – letting Him truly speak to my heart. The silence can be scary because in it we are left alone with God. For some of us that is an easy, comfortable place to be, but for others it can be intimidating. Either way, we need the silence, the time away from the clutters and busyness of life to simply rest in God’s presence and all-encompassing love. I’m slowly reaching a place where I look forward to the silence, if only for a chance to unwind. I’m praying that by the end of Lent the silent time with God won’t be so scary and that I won’t fear His voice so much. No matter where He calls me – even if it is someplace I initially fear going – I know He’ll be there with me, guiding me and loving me through it all. He’s already endured 40 days of silence and temptation, what is 15 minutes? Hopefully it is only the beginning of something beautiful.