Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Trying to Obey

I got up early, before the kids, to be silent for an hour. I sat on the deck and listened to the birds and watched the squirrels.

In the silence, I had time and space to process a painful conflict from the weekend. When the hour was up, I opened up my other blog, my private blog, and poured out my feelings. I reread this post, looked up some Scriptures, and did my best to own my part and start the process of forgiving.

This afternoon I found myself, after an unusual set of circumstances, alone in my minivan, driving in silence. I wanted to turn on the radio or put in a tape. I wanted to pick up my cell phone and call someone. I drove in silence. I felt a little tired. I prayed for a friend. I thought of someone to call...later. I drove on in silence.

It was nice. It was...refreshing.

Tonight, I looked up what Sister Wendy has to say about silence in her little Book of Meditations.

Silence is a paradox, intensely there and, with equal intensity, not there. The passivity of silence is hard to explain, since in one respect it is intensely active. We hold ourselves in a condition of surrender. We choose not to initiate, not to cooperate with our mental processes. Yet from this passivity arises creativity. This mysterious liberation from all commonplace demands is exemplified in Rebecca Salter's abstractions, which have been compared to gazing at a waterfall. Salter seems to have painted silence itself; the work is both alive and moving, and yet still, so that the eye wanders absorbed and yet patternless, through and among the shapes. There is nothing to say, nothing even to experience in any words that sound impressive, yet the looking never wearies. This is a rough image, in its very imagelessness, of the bliss of silence.

Entering into silence is like stepping into cold water. The dust and debris are quietly washed away, and we are purified of our triviality. This cleansing takes place whether we are conscious of it or not; the very choice of silence, of desiring to be still, washes away the day's grime.


Ahhh, maybe that's why I love a silent house at night...

1 comment:

tonia said...

I can't tell you how this has spoken to me tonight. Thank you. I'll be meditating on this message.

Wishing you a silent tomorrow morning...