The Silence Quotient

May 10, 2010

Very early in the morning or very late at night, when there is no traffic noise and for some reason I am awake, I can hear the train whistle from far away. It sounds to me like a call to wander, to see new places, and something within me trembles a little at the thought. The church bells are chiming right now at a church a half mile away. I only hear them when there’s no traffic on the street behind me. There is quiet in a snowfall. While rain can plop away on metal or concrete surfaces, the snowflake makes no sound as it falls to the ground.

“There is a kind of hush all over the world tonight,” Johnny Mathis sings of “lovers in love.” This “kind of hush” also dwells in the silence within us. There’s a quality of being before the thought, underneath the noise and busyness of our modern world. “There’s a kind of hush” within waiting to be tapped into. It is the gateway into the Life of the Spirit, into the life that identifies more with God than with ourselves, that takes us into uncharted territory, deep within ourselves, but at the same time connects us to all life, all creation.

When we identify with the surface of our lives, we miss all signals from a deeper level. We are consumed by the busyness and chaos, reacting to whatever happens or to whatever anyone says to us. We live out the assumptions of our culture, and sure enough, life works the way “they” say it will, “they” being the prevailing voices of our times.

If we are looking for something different, deeper, however, if we are willing to venture into the unknown, like the children who crawled into the wardrobe in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, C. S. Lewis’  novel in which a whole new world is revealed, we will find a world that contains that “hush,” where reverence rules, where we are profoundly changed. To access this other world, which is like a deep well or a hidden aquifer, an untapped potential territory within us, requires a willingness to venture beyond the expected, to answer that distant train whistle that calls us to travel, but also to delve deeper into ourselves.

When we learn to dwell there, rather than on the surface of our lives, we develop an inner ear and eye which reveal far more than our sense organs reveal to us. We discover a wealth of support, connectedness, motivation, love and power from the indwelling Christ. We reclaim the discarded, undervalued parts of ourselves, moving into a wholeness that we’ve never experienced before.

Is there a church bell, a train whistle or some other signal in the “hush” that is calling you? Answer the call today. Don’t waste any time.

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