Thursday, September 17, 2009


One evening in high school during our annual missions trip to mexico a whole group of us sat around our camp on the beach and listened as one of our chaperones gave us a devotion. The devotion was about silence. He talked about this book that had been written by a monk who took a vow of silence and he then asked us to do a funny thing. He asked us to name our silence. We then went around and some of us said where it is that we find our silence or what we named it. I didn't say anything at the time.
this idea is one that has remained in my head until this day, and four years later it is still something i think about fairly often. especially in the days immediately following the devotion i spent a long time trying to figure out what my silence meant to me. what would i name it?

i finally settled on discovery. that is what i named my silence.
I named it that because my silence is reflective. It is ponderous and my mind is anything but quiet in my silence. I learn things, i discover things in my silence. I discover things about myself and things about others and things about life in general.

For me the idea of silence and solitude go together. Solitude is something i have come to treasure greatly in the last few years. I need it. daily. I need time to be completely alone with my silence. time to discover. time to grow.
i have previously mentioned the poet rilke in other blogs, but i love what he has to say about solitude. here are a few quotes:

"It is Good to be solitary, for solitude is difficult; that something is difficult must be a reason the more for us to do it"

"I hold this to be the highest task for a bond between two people: that each protects the solitude of the other"

"Love consists in this, that two solitudes protect, and touch, and greet eachother"

"Love your solitude and try to sing out with the pain it causes you. your solitude will be a support and a home for you"

"Solitude is nothing one can choose or refrain from. we are solitary. we can delude ourselves about this and act as if it were not true. that is all."

I love that he acknowledges that sometimes solitude is hard and it hurts and you might discover things you didn't really want to. you might have to face yourself. you might feel lonely or scared, but that is all the more reason to do it. As humans we need solitude. we need to find our own thoughts and we can comfort ourselves in our solitude and our silence.

Secondly I love that he says that love is when two solitudes protect eachother. they even touch, but they remain their own. they are protected, they are their own. We must give the people we love space to figure themselves out for themselves alone. Give them a solitude. let them name their silence.

i think you have to know your silence to be able to share it at all.....

No comments:

Post a Comment