Braving Silence

“When Elijah heard [the sound of sheer silence], he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.” [1 Kings 18:13a]

I love the image painted by this verse. The world outside of the safety of Elijah’s cave has been thunderous and tumultuous. He hasn’t dared to leave his safe abode. But, then something surprising happens, because there is no sound and no movement. It is as if the world has stood still. This intrigues Elijah and he dares to move towards the entrance of the cave. Notice though that he has wrapped his face in his mantle. He is prepared for a second wave of thunderous tumult and pelting sands. He protects himself.  That is often our stance before God as well. We gird ourselves with protective gear and then dip our toes in the water of silence, ready to retreat at a moments notice of the silence is too demanding. I have shared in the past about my first experience on a retreat the had silence from evening prayer until after breakfast, which meant we ate together in silence. It was a difficult experience for me, for meals had always meant conversation for as long as I could remember. Yet, as the week wore on, the silence opened new insights that I would never had if conversation had been our morning diet. How might braving silence, that includes your inner dialogue or monkey brain as it is called, be a gateway to the voice of God?

Prayer

God of sheer silence, it is so hard for me to quiet my thoughts. If when I am in silence my thoughts continue to demand my attention. Help me to learn to let go and just be in your presence, so that I might hear anew a word from you. Amen.

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