Silence Part 6: Wendy Bray examines those times when words might get in the way
There is... a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak. Ecclesiastes 3
We saw yesterday that silence and solitude hone our senses. We certainly pay more attention when we stop talking, as any school teacher will tell us! But choosing a time to be silent is different from obeying an order to keep quiet. In making a deliberate choice either to speak or remain silent, we sometimes discover that we miss something by filling a silent space with our chatter.
There is a special joy in a companionable silence and in taking time to appreciate the world with our senses—sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch—and without having to add a verbal commentary. In so doing, we continue to fine-tune our senses; we develop curiosity and understand what it means to live in the present moment.
I once took part in a silent group walk through the countryside, designed to encourage participants to do just that. It was much harder than I expected it to be—not just because I love talking and listening to others, but because, at first, it seemed unnatural, even rude, not to be conversing with them. as we got into our stride, though, we discovered that we were walking together but also alone. We shared the sights and sounds both as a group and in the silent places of our individual hearts and minds. We walked much more slowly than we would normally have done as a group; we looked up, strained to listen, stopped on the pathway more often and looked—really looked—at our surroundings. afterwards we shared our experiences, so we were soon busy talking once again, but the walk made us realise that there is a time to choose to speak and a time to choose silence, not just for the sake of etiquette or a sense of place, but because we need to experience the world without words. Otherwise we often miss what it has to 'say' to us.
Taken from Day by Day with God, published by Bible Reading Fellowship, available to purchase from Eden
March 12th, 2012 - Posted & Written by Ian Matthews