I’ve never been a fan of silence. Starting at age thirteen, maybe younger, I would slide my portable CD player into the waist of my cheer shorts so that I wouldn’t have to mow the lawn in eight hours of silence. I would sing to myself, or recite my next upcoming drama lines, or tell stories to my horse while riding. I never wanted to be alone.
In the literature class I taught today, we read “I’m Nobody – Who are you?” by Emily Dickinson. We chatted about Dickinson a bit, about her extremely introverted behavior. Each of the students discussed how they themselves gained energy and rejuvenation – alone or with people. I so enjoyed hearing them share! I am not an introvert, although I am often shy and prefer not to be the center of the attention. The downside is that I am not accustomed to silence and prefer a bit of chaos.
But a beauty of the season of Lent, or the season of Advent, is the unique opportunity to change rhythms as we prepare to celebrate a new season of immense celebration – Christmas or the Resurrection. The first coming of a grace-overflowing, wine-enjoying Savior. Then the hallelujah of the trampling over death. During these seasons, we take on or take off something to remind of us this change, of this anticipating. We say–my status quo is less necessary than the acknowledgement of this great Story, this good News. Writing these little blurbs every day has been a practice in silence: I step into a quiet space, generally alone, mostly at night, and try to listen for the right words to share. I upset my previous nightly rhythms of games, or TV, or reading instead to speak.
Silence is becoming a little less scary I guess.
What does silence sound like to you?
I’m Nobody! Who are you? (260)
Emily Dickinson, 1830 – 1886
I’m Nobody! Who are you? Are you – Nobody – too? Then there’s a pair of us! Don’t tell! they’d advertise – you know! How dreary – to be – Somebody! How public – like a Frog – To tell one’s name – the livelong June – To an admiring Bog!