Have you ever noticed that silence is not just one-dimensional? In this season of my life, I have found the peaceful silence of the bush incredibly healing. I have found relief in the absence of the noise of civilisation and find great joy daily in the silences that are broken only by the harmony of nature’s sounds. The nights are especially silent – I fully understand the expression “dead of night” here – the nights are quiet and pitch dark (except for when the moon is wearing his Sunday best). I am a great fan of silence and relish it most of the time.
In other seasons of my life I have known different types of silence… the silence of sorrow – that void that follows the final breath of a loved one, still in your arms but gone forever; the silence of a home without the life and laughter of one who shared it for so long; the silence of knowing that nothing you can say or do will relieve the pain and grief of another.
The silence of fear features in many lives daily too. I recall a time when intruders were walking onto my property years ago in the night – I am not a scaredy-cat by nature but during those long nights, when I was alone and recently widowed, I watched the shadows invade my territory and I was hounded by the silence of fear to the point where I felt sick.
My experiences of the various kinds of silence have led me to believe that the worst silence is that of broken relationship. The silence that exists in the place of deep hurt between people who refuse to communicate (for whatever reason). How many wrongs over the course of history could have been rectified if someone had just been the first to break the silence? How many misunderstandings have led to irreparable damage and hurt because no one had the courage to question the intention behind a word/ action?
What kind of silence do you find yourself in right now? If you are grieving, I suspect that silence has it’s part in the healing process (provided it does not lead to prolonged isolation). Maybe you are consumed by the silence that accompanies fear? It is my prayer that you will find help and relief in breaking the silence with someone your trust.
If today, your heart is being torn apart by the silence of hurt or misunderstanding, I want to encourage you to find the courage to break the silence with a view to reconciliation. Hopefully you will discover that there was a misunderstanding, or that the one who hurt you (or that you hurt) has had a change of heart that can free you both. But if, as you read this, you know the silence of a relationship that was broken beyond the healing and repair that words and love can sometimes bring, then I applaud you for trying, and for recognising that there is one more type of silence:- the silence that exists when there is nothing more that can be said – the silence that testifies to the fact that is over. As hard as that is, this silence carries a reward, if you can find it in your heart to let go… a reward of freedom… and it is in that freedom that silence comes full-circle and brings the gift of peace .