The Lenten season is here! This year for Lent, I’m welcoming more silence (and giving up chocolate almonds - yes, that’s a sacrifice). I recently wrote this poem about silence and offer it to you as encouragement for why we sometimes avoid the quiet in and around our lives. How do you meet silence?
Silence: A Poem
by Whitney R. Simpson
She is my companion
yet I avoid her gaze
She is my teacher
yet I push back at her instruction
She is my guide
yet I veer from her course
She is my friend
yet I wonder why she comes near
She is my gift
and I long to savor her more fully
She is inviting me to a oneness with God,
listen...do you hear her?
I avoid her gaze
because at first she looks lonely
I push back at her instruction
because of my own agenda
I veer from her course
because I am easily distracted
I wonder why she comes near
because there is always another choice
Yet I long to savor her
like never before
And once I say yes to her
I receive an awareness I never knew
she could introduce to me
She is my companion,
She is God's gift
What works for your life? I have a long list of things I prefer to spend my time doing both alone and with my family. Things like my morning quiet time, yoga, writing, reading, knitting, biking, kayaking, photography, thrifting, etc. Things that too often slip to the bottom of my list.
This morning I awoke with my "to do" list racing through my head and yet the longing to not simply cram my day with the many tasks from my list. I woke up knowing the list must be accomplished. I also awoke knowing that I longed to make time for at least one of those preferred activities that fills me up and connects me with God.
I have learned. These things keep me going. And yet I let them slip away.
So I sat for a moment in the quiet, fighting the distractions of the "list" for the day.
And then I settled in to the stillness and I read this poem.
Stuck with another day,
God speaks. I just have to slow down and listen.
For me, preference it is today - to the things that worked before. The "to do" list already seems easier to tackle.
Another morning and I wake with thirst for the goodness I do not have. I walk out to the pond and all the way God has given us such beautiful lessons. Oh Lord, I was never a quick scholar but sulked and hunched over my books past the hour and the bell; grant me, in your mercy, a little more time. Love for the earth and love for you are having such a long conversation in my heart. Who knows what will finally happen or where I will be sent, yet already I have given a great many things away, expecting to be told to pack nothing, except the prayers which, with this thirst, I am slowly learning.
— Mary Oliver, Thirst
Beacon Press, Boston, 2006, pp. 1, 52, 69
A friend shared this with me and it has resonated with me all week. This is a modern interpretation of the original quote:
I came to know You late, O Beauty so ancient and new. I came to love You late. You were within me and I was outside where I rushed about wildly searching for You like some monster loose in Your beautiful world. You were with me but I was not with You. You called me, You shouted to me, You wrapped me in Your Splendor, You broke past my deafness, You bathed me in Your Light, You sent my blindness reeling. You gave out such a delightful fragrance and I drew it in and came breathing hard after You. I tasted, and it made me hunger and thirst; You touched me, and I burned to know Your Peace.
-St. Augustine of Hippo
Whitney R. Simpson
• on a journey of #ExploringPeace
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Whitney R. Simpson,
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