I have difficulty finding silence for prayer or reflection. When I am home alone, I hear cracks and creaks from the house that are usually masked by activity. Birds sing outside my window and Lucy, the cat, who is usually curled in my lap when I attempt to find quiet, purrs and squeaks her form of "meow".
When I am driving, I listen to programs on National Public Radio. However, when I turn off the radio, seeking quiet, I hear cars around me. The hum of the car motor, the sound of the wind, a car's horn all penetrate the silence I desire.
Even swimming, when I hope for quiet, my reverie is disturbed by the sound of bubbles coming from breaths I take, by the amplified voice of the water aerobics instructor teaching a class, or water lapping against my body from another swimmer sharing my lane.
Occasionally I take walks in the woods at Conner Prairie or Ritchie Woods, a park in Fishers. Hoping to find quiet away from the noise of everyday life, I hear branches falling, tiny animals scurrying around, or birds singing.
Jesus regularly sought moments when he could go away, find silence and restore his soul. I know the importance of silence, I have trouble finding it ... until two Sundays ago, when I was sitting in church. Finding a pocket of silence in a sanctuary filled with over two hundred people astonished me.
There was a designated time during the order of worship for silent confession that lased for several minutes. No one sneezed or coughed, the children were quiet and I could finally absorb depths of quiet for which I'd been searching. Breathing deeply the silence for which my soul craved, was restorative.
When the pastor "intruded" with a summons to pray, my soul felt cleansed. I was ready to participate in the remaining parts of the service.
Realizing I would again find moments of silence in church the following Sunday brought joy to my heart. Who would think being in the same room as a large group of people I could find silence?
Prayer: God, sometimes we really have to search to find places of quiet where we can rest in you. Bring silence to our hearts so we can hear your voice and restore our weary souls, even while our surroundings are filled with noise. Help us become aware of pockets of silence that flow in the clatter of everyday life, where we can breathe deeply and find refreshment and renewal. Amen.