Monday, April 25, 2011
On Good Friday, I tried something I had been wanting to do for some time. Spend a day in silence. I always wondered how I could pull it off. I knew I couldn't take off to a convent.... How would this work with a family and a schedule to keep? Stepping out of my usual perfectionist trap (if I can't do it exactly how I want, I wont do it) I decided to go for it and see what happened. I couldn't keep my outer world silent, but was determined to be personally silent in the midst of it. Here are some of my observations.
I woke up early and went down to the dock to clean up our boat. It was a beautiful day, and I was enjoying the silence immensely, that is until I started talking to myself. Oops! Didn't realize how much I do that. Had to turn it off.
Back at home, it was a real adjustment for my kids. They are used to me barking orders and keeping the peace between them. So, I found that without that, things where decidedly more peaceful. Why argue if Mom isn't going to step in. Not worth it. There were a few times that I had to speak to the kids. Andrew, not one for change, needed me to assure him that I was just fine, not mad, and this was only temporary. It was really kind of fun. I took them all to town for Rachael's dentist appointment, then to pick up ballet leotards. After that they didn't know where I was taking them. They kept asking where we were going. Of course, I didn't answer, so they were pleasantly surprised with a south shore drive and a lunch stop at our favorite 50's-style diner for burgers. (I was fasting words, not food!)
After our outing, we were back at home for the afternoon. With the big Easter weekend ahead of me, I started in on preparations. It was nice to be busy with my hands, since my mouth was idle. I got a lot of cleaning done. It made me think of Brother Lawrence and his "Practicing the Presence of Jesus." I was being active on the outside, but the silence brought an inward rest that refreshed my soul.
Why silence on Good Friday? It was a day of noise and confusion. The false witnesses were not silent, "..he said he'd rebuild the temple in three days." The crowd was not silent, "Crucify him!" The mocking soldiers were not silent, "Hail, king of the Jews." The thieves that were crucified beside Him where not silent, "You're the Messiah are you? Prove it by saving yourself, and us too while you're at it." The curious on-lookers to His death were not silent, "..come down from that cross." Even the executioners argued for Jesus' robe.
But with all the noise of Good Friday, there was silence too. The silence of his disciples. They weren't around to stand up for Him. Jesus' closest friends ran away. There was the silence of Jesus before Pilate. So many things He could have said, but didn't. He humbled Himself, fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah 53:7, "...And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth." But the most dramatic silence of that day was the silence of the Father. God himself had to turn away from His beloved Son. Silent. Unlike Abraham and Isaac, there was no other sacrifice waiting in the bush. No voice came from heaven staying the death of the Only Son. Lastly, the tomb was silent, deathly silent for three long days.
It was good to be silent last Friday. I learned the value of my words. It was actually hard to get started again. I found myself choosing my words more carefully. I actually was more conscience of giving a "good word" to those around me. That's something I've been working on for a long time. Who knew that it would take silence to give me a better perspective on words of encouragement. Sound's like God to me...
Even today, Monday, I find myself less talkative than last week. I'm praying that the trend holds. I've been careless with my words of late. The impatient words that come out of my mouth really sting my ears. I may need a few more doses of silence to ride me of that. I'm open as the Lord directs.
Have you ever tried silence? I'd love to hear your insights.