Saturday, February 02, 2008

silence

I'm probably in some respects a noisy person. I'm one who can so easily talk too much and too long; I really try to avoid that, and succeed for the most part, though I most easily slip in that mode here at home with Deb. Sometimes I do have to make an effort to be quiet.

In the past I almost always had background music on, and when not that, I was listening to Scripture being read. A habit of years, I mean the nearly constant music, not easy to break.

I still don't see myself as a person of silence, but I'm recognizing how I value it in my life now. I really want no noise, or at least try to block it out with ear plugs when I'm reading Scripture in the morning and at night. And when I'm sitting down to post something here, I want it quiet, so I can try to discern what to say, trying to discern something of God's voice in my life. Silence facilitates that for me. Helping me to focus in on seeking to hear and discern what God might be saying to me.

What about you and silence? Are you friends? What might you like to share on this?

11 comments:

NaNcY said...

i have a post that i read this morning that you might want to check out. llama momma spent some time last week at a silent retreat and is beginning to reflect on her experience.

http://llamamomma.blogspot.com/

NaNcY said...

oh dear brother...here is another one i just read...

http://this-walk.blogspot.com/2008/02/sometimes.html

hope you do not mind the links.

Llama Momma said...

Great thoughts, Ted.

As a person who values silence, I'm amazed by how difficult it is to achieve. Even when I make room for it, my mind wants to clutter up the space with worry or decision making or the five million imaginary conversations I'm having... (tell me I'm not alone here!!)

But you're absolutely right. We must make space for God to speak to us. We must sit at His feet and allow Him to change us.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Nancy,
I went to both posts and left comments. Thanks.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Llama Momma,
Yes, you're definitely not alone. I would guess that I am at the place or age where I simply accept the distractions and go on. Maybe that helps me ignore them and focus better on the Lord and on his word.

I'm interested as to what you actually did at your silent retreat, what place Scripture or some set prayers may have had.

Will just have to keep up on your posts about it.

Thanks!

Llama Momma said...

Ted,

I'll continue to post about the silent retreat. By way of reference, I was at a catholic retreat center. I met each morning with a small group led by Ruth Haley Barton (who wrote "Invitation to Solitude and Silence") We prayed together (liturgical prayer), had a short devotion led by Ruth, then time one-on-one to talk with Ruth, who helped shape our time alone.

I took a nap every day. I read books. I asked God some questions I've been afraid to ask and then simply waited. I wrote poems. I read scripture.

I found in the silence I really, really wanted God to show up in some big, exciting way. But sometimes His presence with us is enough.

Anyway, more on all of this as I process it!

I will say I am more refreshed -- physically and spiritually -- than I have ever felt in my life. Ever.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Llama Momma,

Thanks for sharing that. It's even refreshing to hear it.

I take it you were completely quiet, like no reading of Scripture out loud, etc. Never speaking, except for certain prescribed reasons, or within certain set parameters and times?

Mike said...

I have just been thinking about this subject. Everytime our community gets together to pray, a time of silence is the hardest thing.

I can see why this is a discipline that we must recover.

For myself. I am starting to cultivate the practise but I have a long way to go.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Mike,
I notice too that in our gatherings it seems we're nearly allergic to silence. Maybe in part because we want to visit. But in a worship setting, silence I believe, is an important part of it, as we seek to become still before God, with ears to hear what he might be saying to us.

I think I've come a long ways in my life, but started pretty low, as a noisy person. I'm sure I have yet a long way to go, but I'm grateful that I now value silence, something I used to not care for at all. Of course my silence is often full of reading, or praying, but interspersed in that is complete silence. I've found that to be so beneficial that it would be hard for me to turn back as incessant noise, even if good, seems empty in comparison to getting some sense of God.

Thanks for sharing that.

Llama Momma said...

Ted -- Well, not completely silent.

Liturgical prayer in the morning + conversation about logicstics -- "where is the heater?" -- + one-on-one conversation with Ruth.

But other than that, it was silent. Which for me was a lot of silence!! :-) And I don't think I could have done it for five days without the structure of the morning prayers and spiritual direction. In fact, I'm pretty sure I would have run on day 3. (But, again, Ruth's wisdom in that mornings conversation? "The only way you can screw this up is to run away.")

I'm trying to bring this refreshment into every day...to find a more sane pace of living...we'll see how that goes!

Ted M. Gossard said...

Llama Momma,
Thanks. I think I figured it was something like that. Though it's good to hear the details.

Maybe silence, and carrying that into our daily lives has as much to do with focus as anything else. We're trying to focus on Christ, on hearing God's voice or discerning his voice in our lives, listenig to what the Spirit might be saying to us- and all that in the midst of everything.

I look forward to what you post on it, and thanks again.