The Gift of SilenceNew Every Morning | February 17, 2023
Silence is the lifeblood of spiritual direction. You may wonder how that can be if the idea is to engage in conversation about all manner of life, love, loss, and longing. But silence is the gift offered by the director who sits and listens unhurried and silently present to your unfolding story. After sharing what is on my mind and in my heart during that hour with my director, I often come to a point where I feel done or emptied, and I fall silent. At first, this may feel awkward because our culture teaches us to keep conversations going. However, in spiritual direction, the conversation ebbs and flows. I find these spaces of silence become a bridge from my head to my heart as I listen inwardly to what I have just shared.
—Marsha Crockett, Sacred Conversation: Exploring the Seven Gifts of Spiritual Direction (Upper Room Books, 2022)
How have you experienced silence as a gift? Join the conversation.
For God alone my soul waits in silence,
for my hope is from him.
—Psalm 62:5, NRSV
Prayer for the Week
Holy God, thank you for the gift of spiritual direction and for someone to accompany me on my journey of growing closer to you. Help me to remain open to suggestions my spiritual director offers and to pay attention to signs of your presence. Amen.
Submit your prayer to The Upper Room.
This Lent, Roger Owens invites us to approach prayer and life differently through participating in Everyday Contemplative: A Lenten Online Experience. Together, we’ll explore a contemplative approach applicable to all spiritual practices—indeed, to life itself. Register here.
(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)
Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.
When a person is silent, they are not judging my comments aloud (in my hearing) or my story, nor are they trying to “one-up” my story with one of their own. Their response is liberating, enabling me to come up with my own, or to listen carefully to what God is saying. This can serve to increase my reliance on God, if I let it. I do not have to rely on myself or another. God is sufficient.
This morning because now it is silent after much strife with h. He has been confused and angry all morning beginning in the early hours. Now he refuses to shower and I have told him that he may not enter the common living areas without a shower. He wears a diaper, the same one for 24 hours, so has sat in this mess and he smells. Also for the health of his skin he needs to bathe. I am at my wits end. He has not eaten today because he is throwing this temper tantrum and so continues to be banished from the dining room. I am considering calling authorities if this continues beyond today.
The quiet times of my day calm my spirit and clear my mind so that I better hear God. Silence can be difficult if I feel God is silent. I know God uses silence to draw us to Him, but it can be hard waiting to hear from God.