Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Do you ever read something, only to realize later how prophetic that something truly was? A few days ago, I opened to this section in "The Rule Of St Benedict" :
The ninth step of humility is that a monk restrain his tongue from speaking , keeping silence until a question is asked him, as the Scripture shows: in much talking you will not avoid sin
(Prov 10:19); and the talkative one goes without direction upon the earth (Psalm 140:12).
The next day I lost my voice...as in I can only whisper. Try dealing with nine children and no voice! I'm sure my hand gestures, clapping, and squeaking appear quite comical.The worst is when one of the children calls me from upstairs, and I am downstairs; I can't yell "What?!" back to them, So they yell "Mom!" over and over and over again. I've just started clapping, so they remember I can't talk to them.
Yesterday at the "Y" there was a scene. We were trying to eat our "dinner" in the little foyer of the building, and I just couldn't get it orchestrated (ie..kids were not cooperating). I was trying to whisper out orders, totally not making an impact, and Ben said: "I'm so glad you don't have your voice right now!" It was so funny, but I couldn't laugh!
"But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart." (Luke 2:19)
All craziness and frustration aside, losing my voice has made me rethink the value of silence. William Penn said:
Love silence, even in the mind; for thoughts are to that as words are to the body, troublesome: much speaking, as much thinking, spends. True silence is the rest of the mind; and it is to the spirit what sleep is to the body, nourishment and refreshment.
(William Penn, Advice To His Children)
How many times in my life do I wish I could unspeak spoken words? How often is silence a balm, a peaceful acceptance and listening that brings healing? And what I often crave most is the silence of others, when I won't remain quiet myself. The amazing thing is, since I have started having to communicate with my children by whispering, they have started whispering back to me, just out of what seems right. Quiet breeds more quiet, just as loudness breeds more loudness.
So will I stop talking when my voice is back ? (Travis....I see your excited face!) Of course not! But I think I am going to work much harder at cultivating a spirit of quiet in my heart, and I'm going to watch my words more carefully. Is it any coincidence that I have lost my voice during Lent? I don't think so. Maybe God is telling me in His beautiful quiet way that there is something to be said for that great sweet silence that stills spirit and mind.