A few years ago, the part of the The Artist’s Way study I was completing encouraged me to consider silence where there is usually noise. The challenge had a lasting impact on me. I chose to fast from listening to music in the car for two weeks. It was hard at first, a busy mind with nothing to focus on seemed suddenly spastic. My mind reeled and I had no rhythm with which to organize it. But by the end of the two weeks, I had come to find so much peace in the quiet time. My mind had found a pace that suited me well. I used the time to reconsider recent events, to pray, to plan or dream without distraction. I came to appreciate the silence so much that I rarely now turn the radio on in my car. I rarely turn the TV or music on at home or when I’m working either.
More recently, I was reading a book in which the author explained that most people, especially writers (for whom this book was written) can’t stand the idea of being alone. It makes us anxious. She suggests turning the TV on in the next room to create the illusion of company to put the writer at ease and able to work more successfully. I disagree. Sometimes when I’m writing I will put on music – specific choices to bring back the memories I’m pulling inspiration from. But otherwise I think we need the silence in order to hear our own voices, and God’s, more clearly.
“I know you wish you could see me. But that’s the way it has to be. Someday you will understand, don’t you lose your faith in me. I know you wish you could hear me. Sometimes it’s so hard to do, but every morning sunrise says I’m madly in love with you.” Sean McConnell
I’m considering several paths for my future (again). And, as He does sometimes, God has been silent. Instead of being frustrated by the lack of a clear message, I am waiting patiently. Too often we choose for ourselves just to be able to continue moving forward. Hard as it is, I wait. I live in New York, where there is noise everywhere. Busses and subway trains hum and hiss, people shout and scurry, construction bangs and grinds. But all of that comes together to create a kind of silence in itself if you can manage to hear it as the soundtrack of the world around you and not as a distraction. So I am listening. I’m listening for God and also for my own internal voice.
There’s a lot being said in the silence.