It has been a very long time since I could appreciate silence, for a long time its been a fearful time one where there was always a risk of being overtaken by my (ocd) thoughts. I preferred to keep active, keep busy have music, tv, anything on in the background so that there was some distraction. However I was lying on my bed this afternoon (yes I realise I probably should of been working) and decided that silence was really quite beautiful. Lying there without that distraction in the background held no fear, infact it was fantastic! This might seem like a tiny thing but no this is real progress, this is being comfortable with myself, this is huge.
Having said that, I thought I'd discuss three situations of silence that being 'silent treatment', praying in silence and silence in friendships. I'm not aiming to offer solutions or advice for the most part just thoughts.
I have to confess that silent treatment is something I normally cannot stand. To me there is nothing at all worse, when I can see that something is wrong (or even if I can't) I find it extremely uncomfortable and extremely difficult if someone is silent with me. I have always been of the position that not explaining what was wrong leaves both parties in difficulty, the silent one focussing solely on the problem and the one recieving the silent treatment frustrated and confused. Screaming, shouting, arguing, talking etc I can deal with, silence on the other hand destroys me to quote someone called Leroy Brownlow "There are times when silence has the loudest voice" I certainly feel like this in this situation. I wonder perhaps whether the problem here is me, perhaps that silence is beneficial, perhaps it allows things to be resolved without conflict, perhaps it is for the best, or perhaps its not, who knows?
This is something that ties in fairly nicely with my opening to this, there is beauty in silence and there is beauty in silent prayer. In fact Biblically speaking it is strongly encouraged to pray in private and so why not silently, first to quote Mother Teresa:
“We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature - trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence... We need silence to be able to touch souls.”
Then to look Biblically we see: Matthew 6:1-6 "Be careful not to parade your uprightness in public to attract attention; otherwise you will lose all reward from your Father in heaven. ... And when you pray, do not imitate the hypocrites; they love to say their prayers standing up in the synagogues and at the street corners for people to see them. In truth I tell you, they have had their reward. But when you pray, go to your private room, shut yourself in, and so pray to your Father who is in that secret place, and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you."
To add to this we know that God knows our thoughts, see Psalm 139:23 for this and combining we can see that silent prayer can be very effective. Further to this it gives us the opportunity to rest in God's presence and allow him to direct our thoughts rather than us speaking all the time. Sitting in God's presence silently, not even making requests, just putting the time aside I think is a beautiful prayer in itself.
Silence In Friendships
I have to say that the best of friends are probably not those who always have something to say to each other but in fact are those who can comfortably be together silently, I'm hoping that my new found comfort in silence will spread through my friendships too, maybe it'll make them even stronger, who knows.