Thursday, 14 February 2013

Silence - and listening to it!

No, I haven't gone mad, though I do know there is a whole record that is devoted to silence, the concept of "hearing" silence is quite a bizarre one! 

My London church has a tradition (well its been doing this for about 7 years now) of writing its own Lent booklet and this year our theme is "Listening to..."   Yesterday was Ash Wednesday (or the day after Pancake Day as I suspect many may now refer to it as) so we started our Lenten journey with the theme for these next few days being Listening to Silence.

Its odd how little things happen during the day that suddenly all add up by the time you're in bed and about to go to sleep!  I started the day VERY early (I'm looking for accolades here!  Not!) I went to Mass at St Mary's Willesden at 6.30am with my friend Sarah.  The little sermon (aka homily) was great, the priest talked about the silence of the Judean desert and his own experience of that on a pilgrimage.  He also talked about how difficult it was to find silence in our lives but how that was less tricky than carve out some solitude.

Turn the clock forward just over 12 hours and I was back in church - at St Andrew's Holborn, where I am to be found most Wednesday evenings - listening to more pearls of wisdom from our Guild Vicar, Lyle. He was, of course, speaking directly to the theme of silence and how hard it is to still our minds and eradicate any stray thoughts so that the sounds of silence can creep into our consciousness (I'm now interpreting his words in my own way!).  He went on to expand that to illustrate how important it can be to listen to our inner self, one of the sounds that is often drowned out by our busy world and crowded minds.

Then in the pub afterwards, a friend reminded me that I wasn't always able to clear my mind and just 'be'...  There was a time in my life when the demands of young family and all the other paraphernalia I had in my life at the time stopped me clearing my thoughts; actively prevented me from listening to silence.  It was also a time when, had I stopped to actually clear my mind and allow the silence to 'get to me' that I might have crumpled and not been able to carry on.  The thought of confronting some of the things I was burying deep down was too scary.

Silence is a gift and a balm but only when we are strong enough to cope with all that we will hear...

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