Silence is one of the most underrated things in the world. I already knew that in my head, but I experienced it in my heart Thursday. Silence can be powerful.
Theere’s a Catholic monastery not far from where I live, and I used to stop by to visit the chapel there. I’m not Catholic and I’m not one who believes you need to be in a church to pray, but I like the stillness and silence of that chapel. I’d forgotten just how much I like it until I stopped there Thursday afternoon.
Many of us who’ve experienced God in some way spend a good portion of our lives eager to capture — again and again — the essence of an experience with God that’s been meaningful to us. At different points in our lives, we’ve felt the presence of God in a way that is completely unbelievable to someone who hasn’t felt it. But we don’t feel that every day. At least I don’t — and other Christians I talk to don’t feel that “high” feeling all the time, either.
The odd thing is that God is always there. We’re just too busy drowning Him out with everything around us — and especially everything inside us. For me, the biggest distraction I have in experiencing God is shutting up my own incessant inner voice — so that I can hear God in the silence.
Most of the world around us is noisy and busy. We’re listening to radios, televisions, iPods and the other busy sounds of society. Many people say they’re looking for God — listening for His voice — but if they expect some booming deep voice to outshout their television, they’re going to be disappointed.
Mother Teresa pointed to this connection between silence and the things of nature.
“We need to find God, and He cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature — trees, flowers, grass — grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence. We need silence to be able to touch souls.”
God is all around us if we’re able to be quiet and listen. Whether you’re looking for God or not, try to completely silence the noise all around you sometime. Try to shut off the chattering voice inside your own head. Get very quiet. Listen carefully.
You just might be surprised at what you hear. I know that I was surprised Thursday, but I’m always surprised to find that God is right where I left Him the last time I looked.