On this Good Friday, we think about the tomb – a place of death and silence. And while we fight death, I submit that we need to embrace silence.
I run to stay in shape. It’s not a sport I enjoy; mostly it’s boring. I used to pass the time by listening to books-on-tape as I ran. But in the last year or two I stopped doing that. Something inside me has always cried out for a quiet space, and fearing I was losing that, I began to reserve my running times to cultivate silence.
We need more silence in our lives – it’s a mirror on our deepest self. It’s where our minds and spirits are restored. Our modern lives are crammed with too much noise. The voices of others fill the quiet spaces where God whispers and ideas congeal. And in the welter of noise, we’re left estranged from ourselves, barely able to distinguish our own thoughts from the cascade of voices – the media echo chamber, the unsolicited negativity all around us.
Go into the woods for a few days and the jabber of the day’s news begins to recede (read about my son’s solitude experiment here). Prayer – that thing that seemed to be such a task – becomes not only possible, but enjoyable. We begin to get in touch with what Nouwen calls, “our sacred center, where God dwells.”
I don’t know about you, but I sometimes find my own life stuck in a spin cycle that I can’t seem to stop. I’m on a plane as I write this. I need to back away from all the activity that jams my ability to receive. I bring myself up on charges, but so many of you reading this know you struggle in the same way. We need to push the “stop” button and commit to the silence that will help us find ourselves again.