Sunday, 26 February 2012
‘Nothing in the whole of creation
so resembles God as silence’.
Today at church on this first Sunday of Lent the sermon was on the suplication and silence of prayer,
and the words above were used in speaking on
the "silence" part.
Now I had heard or read
the words of Meister Eckhart before,
and sometimes the word "stillness" is used in place of "silence",
but today the words broke over me as an epiphany
and I saw how amazingly I have been blessed.
Firstly I have been forced to lead a life of much literal stillness.
Often ill as a child, then in my teens
spending two years in bed,
mostly lying flat on my back
with no outside stimulus at all except the radio.
(Those were the good old days of earphones hanging
on the bed head of each hospital bed, and reading,
even for a bibliophile like me,
is hard work when you have to hold the book
above your head.
Your arms soon give out!)
I have long known and appreciated
those two years as my grounding in silence,
and beginning to recognise and face my own demons,
but today the knowledge hit me
like a tidal wave of joy.
How privileged am I not to have faced
the overwhelming temptation which comes with being
strong enough to go after
every ambition I believed myself capable of;
or every distraction that attracted me.
Sure, it was lonely.
As has often been said though
there is loneliness and there is solitude,
and I guess I was adapted to the solitude despite myself,
and it became a rich, deep, place of second nature.
When so many of my friends and loved ones
with their over-busy lives
and yet cannot bring themselves
to let go of anything
to have a little time to be still
I ache for them.
Perhaps the world needs a Lenten period
of seeking silence
more than it knows.
Even if it were a non- religious 40 days,
I wonder what it would yield,
that few minutes here or there sinking into silence.
Not easy at first I know,
still it might well become a habit, and
then where would we be?
More thoughts on this next time perhaps.
In the mean time
if there is something which you can see no sense in,
something hard in your life at present,
I pray that a time might come
when you will see a harvest of richness and joy from it,
much as I saw anew out of mine today.