Have you ever noticed how many kinds of silence there are?
There is the quiet silence of joy.
There is the silence of anger, of fuming in a stroke-like gaping horror.
When my daughter gets hurt, and it’s actually more than a little bump, you can gauge the severity of the injury by how long it is before the sound of the cry begins: the longer the silence, the worse it turns out to be.
In worship there can be intentional holy silence and awkward waiting transitional silence and a silence that sits in the middle somewhere between the two.
Silence happens in the morning or night time between the quieting of the night noises and the beginning of the morning activity.
Silence comes in all times and places…
Silence at the right moment is appropriate and called for and necessary. Sometimes I wish there was more of it.
Sometimes there is too much of it. Sometimes there is the wrong kind of silence.
Silence in the midst of injustice, of someone being hurt, is dangerous. Silence can be forced.
Silence is inflicted.
When necessary voices are ignored and harm continues, it is as if there might as well be silence. And then there is too much of the news, the bad piles on top of what is worse and the horrible keeps getting multiplied by the horrifying.
We go deaf in the screaming and are engulfed in the silence that comes from being numbed to the pain around us.
Our ears ring with the echoes of all the shouts around us.
There is no peaceful silence, merely the hush in the eye of the hurricane.
I can’t turn my ears from the cries around me. I can’t turn my eyes from the news of another attack. I can’t turn my heart from the call of the broken.
I choose to look and listen and feel.
I add my voice when I can, speaking a language of confession and kindness. My words may be little better than silence. I doubt my own effort and effect on the noisome roll of news and heartache.
I take moments to attempt entering holy silence. It is one of the few things that is keeping me in strength, patience, and compassion. Holy silence grants me hope.
My hope waits expectantly for joy.