I have about a two-minute commute to work – walking. For the most part, that is a good thing and most people are jealous when they find out where I live. Every time I get on the Trans Canada and realize that people drive that highway everyday, I am deeply grateful for my commute.
Every once in a while, I need to travel to a meeting and head down the highway. While I used to crank up the tunes on such a commute, for the past several years I have found great pleasure and peace in turning the audio off and travelling in silence. It gives me time to decompress, to ponder the blessings I have, and it actually keeps me calmer when traffic backs up or someone cuts me off or rides a little too close behind me (no, I am not one of those people who sits in the left lane with my car on cruise).
With a Cup and a Bible
In a blog post from which I borrowed the title for this, Richard Rohr writes:
Silence has a life of its own. It is not just that which is around words and underneath images and events. It is a being in itself to which we can relate and become intimately familiar. Philosophically, we would say being is that foundational quality which precedes all other attributes. Silence is at the very foundation of all reality—naked being, if you will. Pure being is that out of which all else comes and to which all things return. Or as I like to say, Reality is the closest ally of God.
There are several ways in which I try to build silence into my daily and weekly routines.
Since I am an early riser, most mornings at about 5:15 am, I sit with a cup of hot lemon water in my dark living room, spending time reading a portion of Scripture and silently sit with God.
Being an early riser, I go to bed early as well. Especially at times when I have stressors in my day, I look forward to going into the silence of my bedroom, sharing the things on my mind with God, and seeking His face and comfort.
Being Still In the Noise
There are ways in which I believe I experience silence as a way of being, as referred to above that is not devoid of noise. I don’t know if Richard Rohr would agree with this, but for me, it is true. There are times when we have a houseful of people or at our first gathering as staff in the new school year when it is very noisy with a myriad of conversations. I will often stand off to the side and find solace in the chatter, but feel completely still in my being.
I try to get outside on most recesses and noon hours even when I am not officially on supervision. There is obviously a lot of noise as students engage in all kinds of play. Sometimes students will come to talk to me or ask for my help with a problem. But there are times when I can stand and simply watch. Seeing kids running, playing, and laughing quiets and feeds my soul.