Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Gift of Silence


Not long ago, my twin sister and I drove to a nearby botanical garden to take in the sights. It's a place I used to visit a lot when my daughter was small. Upon arriving, I realized how much I'd missed it. As we strolled along cobblestone paths, we came upon a shady bench that sat among the trees—an open invitation to rest. (That's me in the photograph, drinking in the view and inhaling the quiet.)

Ah, the exquisite sound of silence.

In the clamor of our lives it's easy to lose sight of who we are and what beliefs we hold. Our principles are often based solely on what we have heard from voices around us. That is why we should seek out silence. In silence we can think for ourselves, looking deeply into our souls for personal values and convictions. We can identify goals and dreams, and devise a plan for fulfilling them.

Silence also puts us in tune with the extraordinary world around us. We can catch sight of those often missed gems—strips of golden sunlight wrapping around a porch, the elaborate pattern of a leaf, a full moon's path across a still lake. It is in silence that we hear soothing, healing sounds—the mellifluous song of a bird, a gentle wind whispering through leaves, our heart beating, the scampering of a squirrel up the trunk of a tree, the voice of God.

Why do we cover the silence in our world?

Perhaps we are afraid of what we might encounter in the solitude of ourselves. Past mistakes. Present miseries. Future fears. But maybe if we sought out silence now and then we would discover solutions to our predicaments. Maybe we would find the courage to make peace with our past. Who knows?

Occasionally, I do something solely for myself. It might be strolling through a flower garden, visiting a tranquil site or I might just drape my great-grandmother's scrap quilt around me and curl up on the couch with a steaming cup of chocolate. But no matter how or where I position myself, my objective during these moments is to shut out the noise around me, to utterly experience the sound of silence. And I am always amazed by what I see and hear, by the gifts that are there for the taking.

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Photograph by Gayle.

17 comments:

  1. Oh, I am with you. Silence is golden, and all too rarely found in my life. But then, what is has been replaced with is beautiful, too.

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  2. Thank you for the encouragement to be still and be silent. I don't experience the silence enough.

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  3. Wow, that spot looks amazing -- it reminds me of the botanical gardens in Omaha. Must get back there this summer!

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  4. Getting up early and sitting on my porch or in my rocker gives me that vital taste of silence. Love this post, and I am so glad I found your blog! It is beautiful.

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  5. I"m slowly realizing how important silence is. I need to be still to hear Him. Thanks for this post, it's a beautiful reminder.

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  6. Hello Dayle...I think our yearning for silence is connected with finding the Father, our Spiritual Creator. I like to shut out the noise of the world to just "be" with Him. Thanks for the reminder. Sincerely, Susan

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  7. If I could pick a favorite of the posts I have read here (and I can't...), this would be a serious contender. You express my thoughts so much better than I can express myself. I particularly like the part about what we fear we will hear in the silence.
    Wonderful.

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  8. Lovely post, Dayle! Quite is one of the reasons I love the early morning.

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  9. Love this post, sis, and it's so true. Silence scares us. On my blog, "Solitary Moments" I use an excerpt of a quote by Mother Teresa: “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.”

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  10. Your thoughs are as always inspiring. I have a 20 minute commute to work and it is the only total silence in my day. First I pray and then I think. I need to find your park bench and seek more . . .

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  11. I love little reminders to appreciate the beauty of silence and stillness.

    Emily@remodelingthislife

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  12. Agh! I just left a comment and then clicked away as the word verification popped up and I lost what I wrote. :(

    Anyway, I wanted to say that this is a great post. I think you hit on something by asking what we are afraid of encountering in those silent moments of solitude. I've only recently, the last couple of years, realized the value and necessity of time in silence, not just time alone.

    Thanks for this.

    -elizabeth

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  13. I adore silence! It's hard to come by around here, but I relish it when I stumble upon it. :)

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  14. For years I equated silence with laziness. Noise meant something was going on, that I was doing something. Now I'm older and I know better.

    Loved, loved this post.

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  15. I relish silence, those golden moments that replenish and rejuvenate us!

    Lovely post!

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  16. Dayle,
    Inspiring post about the need for, and the consequences of, not allowing silence into our daily lives. The older I've gotten, the more I relish quiet times. Thanks.

    ~Jean

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  17. Oh, and as a new fan of quilts, your Mother's baby quilts are beautiful!

    ~J

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Dear Readers, I adore your company and your comments. If you ask questions here, I respond to them here, so please check back when you have a chance. Kind regards, Dayle