I just got back from a staff/council retreat. All in all it was a good weekend - good company, good work and even some time for some good fellowship. In one of our devotional times I was reminded of one of my favorite quotes from Mother Theresa. It is one I think about often.
An interviewer once asked Mother Teresa, “When you pray, what do you say to God?” She said, “I don’t say anything. I just listen.” So the interviewer asked, “What does God say to you?” She replied, “God doesn't say anything. He listens.”
What a fascinating image that is, fascinating to me anyway. There is something about silence however, that makes us uncomfortable. When there is a lull in a conversation (I think I heard somewhere that it happens every 7 minutes.....) we get uncomfortable. It seems as if so many of us can't climb into the car without turning on the radio. Thanks to my husband, I can't even fall asleep anymore without some sort of background "noise". We are constantly "plugged in" - to our i-pods, our t.v.'s, our radios - and if it isn't the audio noise we are assaulted by visual noise - the images on the screen fly at us fast and furious, and it seems as if they must to keep our attention. I am so guilty of this. Especially it seems in todays fast paced society - in a world filled with so much "noise" - how do we make space for the "silence" that we need, the space in which God can enter in? The quiet in which we crave and need, but sometimes don't even realize how much?
I started to think about the instances in which we are comfortable with the silence - the times when you can sit with family, or a close friend, and feel okay saying nothing at all - instead of awkward. It is the sign of a close and deep relationship when you feel comfortable enough to say nothing .......... and then I start to understand Mother Theresa quote. That's when I also understand that only in the silence can I truly listen.