For everything there is a season . . . a time to keep silence, and a time to speak. -- Ecclesiastes 3:1, 7
I have been listening more of late . . . To the great pouring forth of words in this tumultuous season and to the carved-out silences of the spaces between.
Pressing up against the urge to speak, I have been listening . . . and I have gotten myself outside more. With a great canopy above, and the forest floor beneath my feet, I listen. To birds. To rain. To breath. To tooth of pole saw on dead wood. To the crack and thud-on-ground of branches long-dead; casualties of light lost.
Listen. I find that I need the outer ground to stay in touch with my inner ground. To engage in the slow and silent process of tending to dead wood among the trees and in the rain is, for me, a means of tending soul. Lifting the canopy. Opening up to Spaciousness.
Before a word is spoken . . . an opinion is shared . . . a phrase is turned . . . I seek to listen. Why? Because silence opens light-deprived spaces to illumination . . . “for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” says Jesus. And listening leads to pruning. Intolerance. Crack. Self-righteous indignation. Snap. Rush to judgment. Thud . . . As the canopy is lifted, I hear anew the word of wisdom, “my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger” (James 1:19).
Child of God, there is, indeed, a time to keep silence, and a time to speak. It is a sacred sequence: silence precedes speaking. Listening informs and empowers action. Listen. For life.
Holy One, Speak gently in our silence. Amen.