I’ve got a confession to make. I’ve come to the realization that I think I’ve got a “frenemy.” Maybe you too would be honest enough to admit that you have one of those in your life? Both a friend and an enemy… the oxymoron of complicated relationships. My frenemy, however, is not a person – but a spacial awareness in life that I find myself facing regularly and trying to battle through. And that, my friends, is silence.
Silence is this awkward thing that not many of us seem to have much of these days. This world is loud and clamors for our attention at every moment of every day. From the constant invitations to connect that are coming to us all day long through our phones and social media, to the faster paced lifestyle that our grandparents never could have imagined, our calendars are full and so are our moments. I’ve come to think it’s no wonder that when silence does present us with an invitation to sit with us for a while, it’s so easy to ignore it or push it away entirely. It takes discipline, and I admire those people I’ve met who have developed that in this area.
I’m so guilty of pushing away the silence now more than ever. Not only are my days currently full of work and parenting solo, but the little people in my home don’t really allow for me to have that much time to think quietly. From the time their feet hit the ground in the morning, there are constant demands, giggles, and commentaries about their lives. And when their feet get back into their beds at night, my mind is often so ready for some adult conversation, that a show or some time on social media is way more inviting to me than being quietly alone with my thoughts. Furthermore, when you’ve been through grief and loss, thoughts may pop up at times that aren’t welcome where silence abounds, making that silence even a bit scary.
But recently, I started realizing what a disservice I was doing myself if I didn’t intentionally make time for quiet moments throughout my day. I cannot be intentional about the way I live out my days if I don’t have time to think through the decisions I will make for those days. I cannot move forward if I cannot have time to process the past. I cannot reach my goals and dreams if I don’t have any time to think about why and when I want to accomplish them. And most importantly, I cannot have enough time to spend with my Savior if I don’t allow silence to be a regular part of my day, where I can stop talking and just listen for His still small voice that isn’t often heard in the noise.
Mother Teresa said, “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.”
And so, I’m choosing to embrace the silence – even when it hurts, when it makes me feel isolated, and when it would be so much easier to keep drowning out. Because if God is the friend of silence, then I need to make silence my friend too.
And after all, isn’t a friend way more fun to have along than a frenemy?by