Listening to the Silence

Posted on October 23, 2007. Filed under: Spiritual Musings |



How Long O Lord!

Most of my close friends know how badly I had sunk into depression these past couple of years (about 3).  All throughout I had flailed in the darkness trying desperately to hold onto what little faith and trust in God I had left.  As much as I wanted to throw it all away, I kept thinking along with Simon Peter in John 6:68,69 “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”  But I counted the days that I wallowed in my doubt and fears and I saw no end in sight.

Dawn finally began to break for me about 5 months ago.  I didn’t have an experience like St. John of the Cross or St. Teresa of Avila but it was my own dark night, my own desert wandering period.  Now it’s a time for recovery.  There’s no trumpets, no blinding lights, no visions, no voices from heaven for me.  I don’t need them and I don’t expect them.  But right now, I’m left with the feeling of what do I do now?  Even though I do see my time sitting in the silence as a time that helped me to grow spiritually, I don’t know what to do about it or what to do with it.  I’m growing listless and anxious.  It’s as if I’ve reached a spiritual plateau and all I see is flat land stretching out to the twilight horizon, you know, that time of day where land and sky seem to intermingle. 

I continue to discover old things that I used to do, old spiritual exercises that I used to perform and those seem to be helping some.  With our little Spiritual Growth/Exercises/Formation thing that myself and some friends have going on, I’ve brushed the dust off the time tested Benedictine practice of Lectio Divina.  One of the reasons why I like it is that you must be completely open to have your thoughts and beliefs challenged and broken.  The way that I view God and my own place in life can be called into question at any moment by simply listening in the silence. 

Today I read something that is still giving me chills.  It was just a little piece in a seldom read book that truly stuck out.  The Lord is speaking to the prophet Zephaniah and says, “Therefore, wait for me,” (3:8).  I know it’s not the entire verse, I know it’s not the entire chapter but it still stuck out.  “Wait for me,”  the cry of one who is separated from a loved one for a time.  “Wait for me,” the plea of a child running after a parent.  “Wait for me,” the pledge given in an engagement.  “Wait for me,” the voiced desire of a friend seeking fellowship.  “Wait for me,” the reassurance from a confidant that help is on the way.  For all the times in which I have wept in the night, “How long O Lord?”, he has silently whispered, “Wait for me!” 

This is why I’m relearning to love the silence.  How long was the voice of God carried away by the wind?  How long did I drown out the warm sotto voce of God’s song with my own unharmonious cacophony?  I sit in the silence and breathe.  It may sound like a paradox, it may not make sense but I’m learning to sit in silence, not saying a word vocally or mentally, and listen to God.  The odd thing is that I’m learning that in the silence, he’s listening to me. 

It’s so odd and yet it is so comforting.  I listen without speaking and God listens without responding.  I’ve gained more from this in the past few months than I have in the ten previous years of chasing after God.  And, in the quiet, I hear God and I know that God hears me.  For those that come and read my blogs, I welcome you to join with me on my pilgrimage.  I ask you to come to the quiet.




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