I am going to resist overthinking the title, when I am about to write this article – like I actually have something to say. I guess what I mean is this. I was thinking about those moments when we go through life in a bit of a daze; waiting to have a meaningful signpost or marker like – 'go this way' or 'turn right'.
All we can do in those moments is hope not to trip up over it and be grateful for the potentially offensive directness of it!
Then there are times when you are going somewhere but you feel like you have nothing to say. What are those moments? Are they the times when you lack a closeness to your spirit? Or when you misidentify the season you are in?
I feel like right now, in the moment or season when I potentially have everything to say, I find my lips pressed tightly shut as though I am wrung out and worn thin. Those are the moments I am referring to. When I have nothing to say.
This may not be easy reading for some of you and I guess it is hard for me to. At times I feel a bit lost-for-words. I feel like life is easier when, however tough the road, you can discuss it with a person on the way. The automatic Christian answer to this is "Jesus" is your friend on the road and I agree.
But what if I have nothing to say to him either? Is the silence golden, or heavy, or leaden or soft? I do not know the answer to this but I am putting it out there? Have you ever found yourself with nothing to say?
There are times in life, when it is better if you say nothing. The world is in political turmoil at the moment and when I look around the air, painted purple and blue with a political bias or point that has no basis in reality, empathy or thinking deeply - it does make me wonder if silence would be an excellent diplomatic recommendation!
But seriously, silence can at times be golden. If you do not know what to say or if you are struggling with angry and hurt-fuelled things that sound good in your head (we have all been there) and you want to say it out loud the silence is not only golden but necessary to preserve your friendship/life !
The silence being heavy is sometimes no bad thing either. Heavy silence feels like the brooding and comforting presence of the Holy Spirit, like a murky grey cloud with a sweet rain-dew taste. You know that you cannot see but you are safe in the midst of the cloud all the same.
When you cry out or when you are contemplating life in a silence, it is not only safe but feels almost womb-like. This kind of silence is the kind that I prefer; when you can feel permissioned to ENJOY the silence.
The hard silence is when you are in a plain and the wind is lashing. The scream of the north-westerly is in your face and burns off your lashes. There is plenty of noise but no real sound. When circumstances feel like they burn off your lashes and tear your hair from your face the silence can feel dreadful and stomach-churning can't it?
And the worst part is because you are hearing a noise, you can feel like you are not in a silence – it is a sort of false dawn. The dangerous times circumstantially can cause us to do two things; either we tune ourselves to what God is saying or we can grasp at anything that is noise, rather than THE VOICE.
I have attempted to describe to you what it can feel like at times to be in "silence" and yet somehow not feel peace. There is a solution.
No not simple
The simple answer is Jesus – not that he is "simple" but that the answer is sufficient for the problem of the silence. But I revisit the paragraph I wrote earlier. What if you feel like Jesus is silent? It is funny because I wrote this article in two parts and when I initially started writing I had no idea how it would turn out. But it felt like Jesus was prodding me to talk about silence.
I guess he is smiling on me now as I realise that silence, in whatever form is OK. God is not all about noise and instruction. God has a call on us to dwell and be/stay in his presence whether we get a download or not. Sometimes it is just about the need to be with our creator that our soul is crying out for, almost more than answers or direction.
Sometimes being with someone is enough. Sometimes being in the presence of someone answers your deepest fear of silence. How can I put this? I think in colours and images the silence can feel a bit like a dark purple black feeling, but a presence in which there is silence feels warm and inviting, like a comforting and deep red.
Silence is not all bad. Learn to dwell in the silence and fullness of God's presence – it will speak to you.
Rosie Robinson resides in Manchester where, in between feeding herself coffee and bagels she works for an international financial services organisation. She attends a lively church called Audacious, enjoys reading, running and watching films and slowly discovering life with Jesus.
Rosie Robinson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/rosie-robinson.html