Confessions of Solitude…

I am not too good with silence.
When I sit too long within its somber embrace, I get nervous…
I wait for the other shoe to drop (so to speak)…
I drum my fingers like a world famous rock star just to break its heavy blanket around me…
I am not too good with silence…
We aren’t friends.
But sometimes, we learn to cohabitant, her languishing about, while I attempt to ignore her call.

I find it interesting, given my avoidance of such an activity, that it is in fact a spiritual discipline.   This comes continually as a surprise to me and my extroverted nature.  I desire to be around people, around the noise of life, and around the fellowship of constant chatter…but silence?  That’s a discipline you say?  Hmm…

Thomas Merton once wrote:  “Not all men are called to be hermits, but all men need enough silence and solitude in their lives to enable the deep inner voice of their own true self to be heard at least occasionally. When that inner voice is not heard, when man cannot attain to the spiritual peace that comes from being perfectly at one with his true self, his life is always miserable and exhausting. For he cannot go on happily for long unless he is in contact with the springs of spiritual life which are hidden in the depths of his own soul. If man is constantly exiled from his own home, locked out of his own spiritual solitude, he ceases to be a true person. He no longer lives as a man.

Far be it for me to tell you how to acquire this spiritual discipline that I myself still struggle with maintaining , but here’s what I have learned along the way thus far:

Silence (or some semblance of silence) can be achieved by being still. 

What do I mean by that? Life is so busy, and we move at such a fast pace in our world.  We often times to not have the time or the patience to remain still.  We live in a world full of constant distractions, instant messages, cell phones, streaming services and the addition of modern technology.  There is certainly nothing wrong with these tools, but too much of a good thing can be detrimental to us…to the point of distraction…to the point of the absence of stillness in our lives.

When we have distraction, the presence of stillness cannot descend upon us…that doesn’t mean that the Holy Spirit cannot still speak to us.  He can do anything within this world since He has authority over all, but can we hear His voice within the distractions?

Silence brings freedom from the powers of life and replaces it with compassion…

Richard Foster says;   “Silence frees us from the need to control others. One reason we can hardly bear to remain silent is that it makes us feel so helpless. We are accustomed to relying upon words to manage and control others. A frantic stream of words flows from us in an attempt to straighten others out. We want so desperately for them to agree with us, to see things our way. We evaluate people, judge people, condemn people. We devour people with our words. Silence is one of the deepest Disciplines of the Spirit simply because it puts the stopper on that.   When we become quiet enough to let go of people, we learn compassion for them.” (Richard Foster, Freedom of Simplicity: Finding Harmony in a Complex World)

Without aligning ourselves with the presence of God (which can be accomplished through silence and solitude), the needs of others through the lens Christ cannot be seen (or at the very least, this vision is greatly diminished).

Commissioner Harry Read –

STILLNESS AND STRENGTH

Be still, my soul, be still,
If you the Father seek
Be still, be reverently still,
If you would hear him speak.

Be still, my soul, be still,
God is not far away,
Be still, with humbleness be still,
Be willing to obey.

Be still, my soul, be still,
Of God be now aware,
Be still, with openness be still,
Your heart for him prepare.

Be still, my soul, be still,
Receive God’s energy,
Receive his grace, his love, his will,
Receive your destiny.

Psalm 46: 10
“Be still and know that I am God.”

With every blessing,
(Harry Read, 23.09.18)

What if it is the stillness of God that I am afraid of?
What if in that stillness I am found wanting, and like the prophet Isaiah, I realize that I am severely undone?
Perhaps it is in this unspoken fear that I must embrace His still small voice, which beckons me to put down my distractions, my hindrances and kneel at His feet.

Am I able to be still?
Am I capable of such a step?
Are you?

Something more to ponder today.
(I will write more on this topic again soon)

On God’s Grandeur (Poem)

Image

In the silent whispers of the morning kiss

Beneath still breezes laying heavy on the barren field

The cattle are all huddled together lowing softly

taking comfort in the cold autumn morning

beyond the field and dancing waves of grain

empting themselves again and again

in harvest moons, now since past

The farm house sits, buffeted by

thick firs a family, a copse of trees.

On the cusp of this morning

The sun is lazily taking its time to rise

While the duties of the farmer is long over due.

Now rife with cup, steaming in pre-dawn briskness

Hand grasping the responsibilities passed down

From father to son to son again

He walks into the day

His office with a view

John Deere for a desk

Overhauls for his three piece suit

With more at stake than corporate interests

And stock portfolios. 

In the silent whispers of the morning kiss

His feet, crunching sun burnt grains

Will begin again, taking each stride

One moment at a time

Ready to stretch God’s grandeur

Further and grander than his yesterdays. 

Still my heart often, Dear Lord

Image

 

Often, 

when these thoughts

compete, 

sprint off

into the hundred

meter dash

faster ever faster

feet a blur in its movement…

often

this is when I know 

I must slow this 

wearied pace. 

Often

my heart, 

a drum beat 

chugging endlessly

at

one hundred and twenty

a rhythm that I

cannot catch 

a train that has 

pulled itself

mightily

from the station 

departure has come and gone…

often 

when I am standing 

at the terminal 

in full view of 

the departing 

in my horizon, 

I know it’s time 

to slow the pace 

again.  

Speak to me 

Great heavenly Host

Father,

the Son

and the Holy Ghost, 

Though I dread 

the stilling of my heart

Often when I don’t

when I ignore

am blinded by these

feeble chores  

how quickly time departs

from me and all that I 

hold dear

derailed by the passing 

strain 

the stress 

the rain of my expecting 

heart…

Yet often, 

more than I care to count

you still my heart

you sit me down

and speak within me

a silent stirring 

that calls me to this 

deeper devotion

far surpassing all of 

my schedules and calendars

and things to do…

Still

my heart

once again 

dear Lord…

for often I will too 

soon forget.  

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