Beauty in Silence

Silence by the calm water
Is there beauty in silence?
The sound of silence...
You so confound me
Sometimes peaceful at times distressing.
Quiet and and yet loud,
Eery and dark or golden and light
Dear Silence your sound it surrounds me
Cocooning me in a dampened embrace
Your sound goes through me and pierces me
Screaming through my heart
Deafening in your scream
Your sound fills me and leave me empty
Oh Silence whose sound I love and hate
Oh dear sound of silence

I’ve been discovering the beauty of silence. Silence is one of those things that can have so many qualities depending on where you are, where your heart is, where your emotions and mind are. These past few months have been filled with a lot of silence, but on the whole it has been positive. It has been heart opening, showing me parts of myself that I had forgotten about or sidelined in the loudness of life. I have always enjoyed silence except when it is awkward in company, but even then I can put up with the awkwardness. If I’m around “my people” though, silence is impossible I have so much to tell. A lot more people are uncomfortable with silence and find they have to fill it with any sound whatsoever, from music to chatter to TV.

Saints and mystics regard silence as one of those ingredients necessary in the quest of holiness. But why? How does silence help us to holiness? Without it there is no place for contemplation, no place for reflection because our hearts and minds are chaotic. Our emotions take over and our reason is overcome.

I think of the silence needed like that of being in the eye of a storm, the eye of a hurricane. Our minds are usually like the hurricane, but when we embrace silence and are still we are in the eye and can see the chaos all around us. This can be terrifying but it also allows a perspective that was not possible before. One can look the storm straight on and clearly see what is happening, see the magnitude of the storm and thus be able to plan and know how to act when back in the fray, and also have the assurance that when it all become overwhelming you can always go back into calm eye to get some rest and recharge.

Hearing God in the Silence

Can you imagine trying to hear anyone in the midst of a storm? And hearing God in the storm that is life? He speaks into the stillness of our hearts in a “still small voice” (1 Kings 19:11-12). We need to be even more still in order to hear it.

The word for silence in German is Stille. With stillness and silence comes relaxation and peace. When you wake up well rested you would not have moved around a lot in your sleep nor made a lot of sound. And those words and prompting of the Holy Spirit that you hear in this stillness, in peace, they resonate through your whole being and cannot be ignored. They move you to action, to changing and not on a surface level. That still small voice, because you are still and silent becomes so loud like a resounding gong. It resonates with each step you take when you are back in the fray. It motivates you to move. To be better. To grow. and as you make the changes to change and grow.

The beauty in silence becomes so apparent you wonder how you missed it before, and you begin to seek more silence and contemplation and thus grow more, and before you know it, you are a few steps close to holiness. One way I have begun to embrace the silence is through contemplative prayer, and the peace from those moments and the stirrings the Lord has given me travel with me throughout the day, like ripples from His centre, like echoes of a conversation we had together…

That has been my saving grace of late, the beauty in silence. What saving grace do you find in the quiet?

Contemplative Prayer Guide

Photo by Niklas Wersinger on Unsplash