I’ve long since thought the world could use more silence, ever since studying the desert fathers in my early theology classes. As it is, we get so little chance for silence in our world today. The hubbub of traffic, earbuds, computers, phones, and the like prevent us from really entering into silence. Even before I became a mother silence so rarely happened. Now, with two littles in the house silence is actually a bit terrifying – it usually means one or more of my children is into something they shouldn’t be.
Last night something rare – truly rare – happened. Both of my kids were asleep and my husband was out for a guy’s night. As I laid the littlest one in her crib a list of things ran through my head – I could….watch tv, write a blog, have a solo dance party, do some laundry, catch up on the budget… – it happened so quickly that my heart filled up with glee at the mere thought of such a gift of time all. to. my. self. Yet as I made my way back into the kitchen I simply sat. I finished my no-longer-warm dinner in peace…and quiet.
As the thoughts and the mental to-do lists came in, I gently pushed them out, opting instead to merely sit. I tuned out the song that had been stuck in my head all day as I searched the recesses of my mind for something entirely too elusive: silence. There’s a stillness that comes with quiet, a gentle peace, like an old friend coming to visit that you haven’t seen in years. Finally I found it, that peaceful bliss of silence, no to do list, no pressing need to do the dishes, but a simple permission to just be rather than do. Even now as I write, the only thing making noise other than the cars passing by my window are my fingers tapping away at the keys.
The truth is that we need more silence. In a way it is terrifying, who knows what God will ask of you in the quiet. But in so many more ways it is freeing, especially in these endless days of diapers and boo-boos that need tending to. It is pure bliss to simply sit, to rest in the quiet. To let the nothingness wash over you, to give yourself permission to stop doing and just be, to be with God. No need for words or endless tasks as if you’ve got something to prove, just you and the silence, the peace of knowing that the world doesn’t stop if you dare to catch your breath. Silence, like an old friend, brings you back to yourself, grounds you, and gives you just what you need to keep on keepin’ on.