It isn’t often that I find myself without much to say. I am a writer and a storyteller, therefore talking is not a problem for me. I am also an extrovert and enjoy being with people. But there are times when I just want to be by myself in complete silence. Have you ever felt that way? It isn’t often that I feel like this, but especially after my open heart surgery, I have become more quiet. It doesn’t physically hurt to talk physically anymore, but I find that as I grow older and as I continue my chase for life, I value stillness and solitude much more.
When I discipled young university students with the Abante International program, we used to visit a monastery in Conyers, Georgia called the Monastery of the Holy Spirit. The whole purpose of going there was to expose the students to a life of solitude and quiet, for them to gain an understanding of the importance of treasuring the Holy Scriptures in their daily walks, and to value alone time. I have found that throughout many years of involvement in several ministries and faith based organizations, those are necessary values for good Christian formation.
Adulting is difficult, and If I have learned one thing (and I have learned many), it is that I don’t have to say everything I have on my mind, and I don’t have to join every conversation I am invited to. I guess that is something that helps me make sense of how people behave around me and helps me control how I behave when I am engaging others. These thoughts came back to mind while going through some stored boxes. I came across my father’s Bible I was gifted after he passed away. I opened it and started reading pages filled with notes and highlighted passages. I shed a few tears and I smiled realizing how much I take after him, even in that.
My father was a man of few words at the end of his life, even though he had a lot going on in his heart and mind. Although I wish he had been more communicative then, I get it. I suppose he felt there wasn’t much more he needed to say. These days, I am trying to say only what I need to say and am putting away those things that have little to no importance. I guess there may be those out there who feel they have to have an opinion about everything regardless of whether people want or need to hear it. You need to understand the importance of silence for your own sanity and healthy growth, not to mention in keeping the peace.
The Trappist monks have mastered living without distractions or the need to be heard constantly. I am still working on this skill because as a writer, I do feel it is important I have a voice and that I am heard. However, even I recognize the importance of timing and choosing my words wisely. I am enjoying this new phase and I’ll be honest with you, I feel I am a better human by embracing solitude and quietness in my chase for life.
How about you? Have you grasped the importance of silence in your own life? In what ways are you intentionally pushing away distractions and finding moments of rest?
We all seek a place to help us push out the busy distractions and pressures of this world, a place where we can be restored.– Monastery of the Holy Spirit