Don’t Just Do Something; Stand There.

It’s that awkward silence. You’re not quite sure what to do or what to say. It seems to be SHOUTING at you to say something. You blurt it out and it just keeps coming. You’re thinking all the time, “Why am I saying this? This is stupid.” Now maybe you’ve never experienced this, but I would venture to say that most of us have, at one time or another, felt the uncomfortable silence and attempted to fill it with something that was, let’s say, less than profound.

Most Americans are uncomfortable with silence. We fill our days (and nights) with noise. At home the television is constantly “talking.” In our bedroom the TV, radio or stereo drones. When eating dinner, we do so in front of the TV or with some other noise in the background. When we are in the car, the stereo is constantly bombarding us with music or talk. So, when silence produces those unexpected commas in life, we don’t know how to handle it. What is the best approach? Maybe it is to do nothing. Silence is actually a good thing at times. I have learned that, in the therapy setting, I can actually allow silence to be therapeutic for my counselee.

Think of what you might actually hear when you remain silent.

• The birds singing on a bright, sun-filled morning.

• The sound of the rain dripping on a gray afternoon.

• The wind-rustled leaves on a crisp, fall day.

• The sound-dampened crunch of footsteps on a snow blanketed night.

• The soft breathing of your infant in a dimly lit nursery.

• The quiet voice of your spouse whispering “I love you.”

• The unassuming child’s song from the backseat of the car.

• The beating of our own heart and the voice of our conscience echoing with each count.

Oh…and the voice of God. Did you miss that? We often don’t hear the voice of God when we fail to be silent. And we often fail to be silent because we may be afraid of what we will hear…from our conscience and from God.

When Jesus led the “inner three” (Peter, James and John) up on a mountain to witness his transfiguration (change in appearance), Peter became nervous and began to verbally gush…

Mark 9:5-7silence

5 “Teacher, this is wonderful!” Peter exclaimed. “We will make three shrines – one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 6 He didn’t really know what to say, for they were all terribly afraid. 7 Then a cloud came over them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.”

Did you catch that? Peter was spouting because he was nervous and God says, “Just be quiet and listen to my Son.” It’s like I hear God saying to me, “Don’t just do something; stand there…and listen.”

2 Responses to “Don’t Just Do Something; Stand There.”

  1. April 17, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    I’ve had some very similar contemplations as I practice silence. I’m learning to carry the silence and the resulting inner peace with me throughout my day. I’m learning to live in the presence of the Light, the inner light that is always there to light my way . . . if I am conscious of it and allow it to awaken me. http://ronirvine.wordpress.com/2010/04/16/silence/

    For me, prayer has been redefined by the power of silence . . . as I listen for my inner teacher, the still small voice.

  2. April 18, 2010 at 7:31 am

    This is such a discipline in our lives…especially in our fast-paced society. Thanks for commenting.

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