Last year I tried (and failed…miserably) to observe 15 minutes of silence a day throughout Lent. This year, despite being even more crazed and busy, I decided to try it again. And guess what? It has been hard, but it has also been so, so fruitful.
Most days I crack and look at the clock or my timer before my 15 minutes are up. More often than not I set a timer on my phone for 15 minutes, so the fact that I feel compelled to look at it to make sure it is working tells me that I struggle to trust God completely. I know my phone works, it has worked without fail so far, and yet day after day I find myself checking it. So too is my relationship with God. He works for my good and the good of all of His children day after day, and yet I find myself compelled to keep asking for that which He already provides me with: His peace and His love.
Most days I have a song stuck in my head and I have to stop myself from mentally singing it. This tells me something I feared I already knew: I’d rather listen to the enchantments of other things than the voice of God. The world and the sweet, alluring sounds it can make can become nothing more than a distraction from the voice of God. Sometimes His voice is quiet or far off and takes more time to hear, but if I don’t develop the discipline to shut out the world, then I risk missing His voice all together.
Most days when that alarm goes off I’m quick to rush off to whatever else I was going to do. Some days when the alarm goes off, I’m hurrying to do the list of things I made in my head while I was supposed to be praying in silence. Fix my shoes, pull out my outfit for tomorrow, e-mail so and so, etc. This tells me that I’m more interested in the minimum than in being fed. Once my fifteen minutes of silence are done (and believe me when I say it takes a great amount of self-discipline not to “pause” my silent time to e-mail whoever, rotate the laundry, etc.) I’m done and I turn off my brain to God. The second my phone alarm goes off I’m relieved that the silence is over.
The silence is hard, but oh so necessary. The silence
forces invites me to go beyond myself, to listen beyond the noise. The silence asks me to shut everything off, including my internal to-do list and just…rest. Easier said than done, which is why I’m glad that lent isn’t over yet. There is more to learn and discover about the wild, patient, tender heart of God.