We aren’t comfortable with silence. Usually, we consider it uncomfortable and awkward. It’s not just an extension of our constantly updated, ever connected lives. To consign it to technological dungeon is doing it and ourselves a disservice.
When I think of silence, often it’s accompanied by the stern gaze of a parent waiting for me to tell the truth. It’s not the quiet, contemplative silence of old friends.
We dislike quiet. We play music loud, always have the TV on, and multitask as if the world will end the moment we stop. Yet, silence isn’t always bad.
Sometimes, it’s necessary.
Let’s think about silence in prayer. If I never cease talking at God, I can never begin to talk with God. When we silence our minds, our pleading, our worrying, and even (sometimes) our joys, that’s when we can hear that still small voice.
But, it’s not just our own silence we find troublesome. After reading, The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything by James Martin, I realized something I never considered before. The silence of God.
God doesn’t always answer our prayers immediately or the way we expect. Obviously. However, sometimes, he just remains quiet. Often we think it’s because we’ve done something wrong or are following the wrong path.
But, silence from God has nuances of meaning just like silence in our daily lives.
If someone sits quietly in a group, we assume they’re shy. If they don’t join a discussion, we assume they’re not interested or don’t like the topic. Yet, they may have had something to add but someone else already said it or they just like how the discussion is forming and want to see how the blossom blooms.
Just because God is silent doesn’t mean he isn’t there or doesn’t care. Perhaps it’s an invitation to sit in silence with him to just feel his presence near you.