Sunday, August 07, 2011

Sheer Silence

In church today, the Old Testament reading was the story of Elisha hearing God not in the wind, earthquake, or fire, but in the "sheer silence." I found this phrase particularly beautiful (other translations render the phrase "gentle whisper"). It makes me imagine God as so gentle and loving that when we need to talk to Him, He sits there quietly, patiently, really listening to us.

There are people who can't listen because they're making so much noise, externally or internally, that there's no room for your voice. And other people exhibit a dead silence, like a wall of snow that muffles you and protects them.

"Sheer silence" is something different entirely. It's like the silence you hear when you park your car at one of the overlooks on Skyline Drive, and no one else is around, only you know that all the trees and plants and leaves are growing and all the animals are scurrying about, and the Shenandoah Valley is scooped out before you like huge hands holding everything up to the sky. Or the silence you hear in a piece of music by Aaron Copland.

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Back to my old blog name! Half-Life was the right name for the past 15 months or so, but I think I'm done with that part of the journey.

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From a quotable book: "It is easy, when you are young, to believe that what you desire is no less than what you deserve, to assume that if you want something badly enough, it is your God-given right to have it" (Into the Wild, Jon Krakauer, ch. 15).

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