There are times when words are not needed. I tend to live my life thinking the opposite. I use words all the time: writing songs, telling stories, leading retreats, parenting my children, small talk with a friend over coffee. But there have been moments when I have seen the power of silence at work in my life and I am humbled and awed by it.
Some evenings when everyone is asleep.. (well except – my faithful dog, Lilly ) … the silence of the house slowly winds down and seeps into our home. The air in the house becomes filled with something in a way that noises cannot imitate. As I walk into each room picking up toys, turning off tvs and lights, locking exterior doors and letting Lilly out one last time while sneaking a glimpse at the stars; nothing needs to be said. In that ritual of becoming quiet I hear the most sometimes. I hear peace. I hear the sound of the fridge humming, our hamster running on her wheel in her cage, a child breathing in a soft rhythm, the dryer gently rolling clothes over and over again and I hear my own body slow to a pace that allows for sleep. Many evenings I read.
I just finished reading “Our Town” by Thornton Wilder. What I loved about his play is how Wilder reminds us of what lasts in life… of small joys of the unspoken, the blessing of life on earth. One of my favorite lines is, “You’ve got to love life to have life and you’ve got to have life to love life. Wilder himself said the play was an attempt to find a value above all price for the smallest events in our daily life. Today after a walk with a friend we sat on a curb for just a second, looked at the sky and breathed.
I am reminded of Max’s recount of his teacher telling his class ” look over your notes at night.. the last thing you go to bed thinking about will be what is retained.” Wow, if I took that to heart… how would my days … my dreams… my actions… the words I used be different the next day. When I think about the best lessons I have learned.. no words were needed… grace, forgiveness, love, hope, endurance… peace.
So here’s to quiet moments. May we trust we are where we are suppose to be, doing what we are suppose to be doing. As my son Max prayed a few months ago, “God, help everyone have a reason to live.” May you and I know our reason to live and may we hear it loudly in the quiet moments, how loved we are, how precious and unique we are and may we not need words to believe it.
The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard;
yet their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.