Hope :: Silence is a Gift

Candle burning in the dark, image by Chirag K
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Do you ever have those moments where you’re just at a loss for words? You don’t know what to say?

It very rarely happens for me, but happen it does.

For instance: I’m terrible at small talk. I work retail, and part of our training is that we’re supposed to be constantly engaging with customers. I hear all of my coworkers easily bantering with customers and I have the passing thought, “I wish I could do that.”

However, when it’s my turn, my mind completely shuts down and I don’t know what to say, so I just say nothing at all.

The same thing happened today as I tried to come up with a topic for this post.

Then I thought: why not talk about the value of silence?

In today’s world, we’re constantly surrounded by noise. It might be silent noise, but the noise is there nonetheless.

We tap on our social media apps and see everyone’s lives laid out before us – or at least the parts that look shiny and pretty. We hear the news by way of tv, radio, podcasts, or people talking around us. We pop in earbuds and listen to music. We play tv shows or movies – sometimes as our entertainment, sometimes as background noise as we do something else. Whether there is sound involved or not, there is constant noise.

When is the last time you paused and reveled in total, absolute silence?

I admit that I have a hard time turning off the tv or music. I almost constantly have sound occurring.

Why?

Often, it’s because I don’t want to hear my own thoughts. My mind can be a pretty scary place – not because my thoughts are necessarily bad; more so because my mind circles around and around, never seeming to settle on anything, but constantly rehashing the same thoughts.

What I’ve found, though, is that when I rest in silence, even for a short time daily, everything seems to slow down a little bit and my mind doesn’t seem quite so hectic.

A lot of times for me, my sitting in silence turns to prayer, where I’m able to hand over any negative thoughts to God, the only One who’s able to carry them in the first place.

Ignoring our thoughts doesn’t make them go away. In fact, ignoring our thoughts tends to make them grow bigger.

We start lashing out at our loved ones. We end up burning out. We find ourselves lost in depression and/or anxiety.

And often, we don’t know how we arrived at that place. Once we crash and burn – hit rock bottom – we are forced to take a look at what’s happening on the inside, and everything we repressed and pushed down and covered up with the noise of the world has grown into this monstrous mess that’s taken to directing our actions.

I’m not saying you need to set up a meditation area. You don’t even need to pray if you don’t feel comfortable doing so. I definitely recommend journaling as it will help you ground your thoughts. I journal my prayers, because that’s how I best stay connected to God and to the here-and-now.

I saw this piece of advice online earlier and only just remembered, but I think it’s good and want to share it: “Take care of the little things now, because the little things – not taken care of – grow into big things.” Relationships, debt, thoughts, etc. Attack it while it’s little, even if you’re not sure how.

When you confront it, it’ll be easier to tackle and see the way through.

So I dare you: sit in silence this week. Even for just a moment.

Brittany Stonestreet signature with dove

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