In our culture, silence is a rare thing. And in my life and the lives of many other students, it is hard to come by.
I’m go, go, go all week with a maximum of 7 hours of sleep a night, if that; these are often my only hours of contemplation. Weeks go by and I realize I haven’t read my Bible and I’ve barely prayed, except on the run.
Sunday comes. Sunday is my Sabbath, at least it is supposed to be. This semester, I’ve mostly committed to not working yet it’s hard to get my mind out of ‘the mode.’ All week, I long for Sunday and imagine all the beautiful things that are going to happen. But when I get there I’m too exhausted to do any of them. But at the same time, I’m too used to being stimulated to completely do nothing.
These ‘symptoms’ are merely the result of a busy and full life. I’m not complaining. I know many others put up with such a lifestyle and I don’t think that busyness is completely unhealthy. Certain aspects of it are, but life should be full and hard and even, exhausting.
Yet there is a time for silence, I think, that is often forgotten. Often trampled on. Often dismissed.
We say we don’t have time. There’s this and there’s that. A meeting to get to and an exam to study for, lunch to make and oh, look, there’s people to talk to. I often adopt the attitude that it’s best to plough through and get everything done; it’s best to use every minute, right?
Last Saturday, after a full day of rehearsal, I plopped down on a cushioned sit in the cafeteria, and sipped coffee for twenty whole minutes. In silence. No computer, no phone, no lines, or books. Just me and God and my thoughts.
My mind was far from silent. A thousand thoughts raced through my brain.
I thought of the many drafts I’d made for this 20 minutes between rehearsal and driving to the next event. Singing practice, playwriting, Voice & Movement exercises, and blogging were among them. None of those are bad things. Actually, I generally enjoy all of them and doing any might have eased my stress later on.
But as I sat, I breathed in. And out. And in again.
And as I sipped, I appreciated the richness of the caramel I’d drizzled in the coffee and the warmth it emitted on my hands.
I enjoyed the people getting their dinners and meeting friends. I like to watch people. I’m an actor, a writer, an observer, an artist — sometimes I forget that. The silence reminded me again.
Visions formed in my head. Visions for my play, for my acting, for future writing projects, for fun.
Memories met me where I was and I laughed by myself in the caf.
I could feel the cuff of my coat and I saw it’s red reflection in the mirror and I remembered that I was wearing my favourite hat. All that made me happy, little and small as it was.
I dialoged with God a bit, too. Sometimes I forget to do that because it’s so loud and I forget He’s there.
Work is excellent and I highly encourage doing it hard. But it’s equally good to find silence from time to time.
Silence revives the soul. It reminds us who we were and who we love, what we do and how to do it.
So as you embark upon this week, I encourage you to find times to be silent. I promise you your mind will talk and so might your Maker.