These are four things that are very valuable to me. Some of this has to do with my personality and preferences. Maybe a great deal of it has to do with my personality.
I was reminded about the value of silence from an article I read by Brian Zahnd on silence.
Maybe I value these things because they are rare in our society. Maybe I value them because they recharge my soul and being. Maybe I value them because I feel more alive when I receive them.
Silence is golden to me. We live in a world full of constant, invading noise. Silence allows us, for rather, forces us to sit and hear what is going on inside of us and what God speaks to us. That can be very uncomfortable for many people. Maybe that’s why so many would rather have some noise – so they can’t hear those voices. Silence gives us time to process, to think, and to not think, peacefully. Silence is a gift, a rest. Silence is golden in many ways.
Stillness is another gift. I don’t mean complete stillness where nothing moves. No, rather, I’m talking about what I call natural stillness. It’s something that makes sense to me. Natural stillness is in opposition to artificial movement. It’s similar to silence and noise. You can be in nature, and the wind can blow and things can move, yet it is stillness. It’s a natural flow of movement – not forced. Artificial movement is so much of the forced movement we see in the world every day – so much effort and energy used to force things to bend to humanity’s will. Maybe stillness isn’t the right word, but it makes sense to me.
Calm. Oh how I long for calm in the world. Calm is a rarity – especially in American culture and especially during a presidential year. We are constantly being thrown from one calamity and offense and fight to another. It’s exhausting – how do people live like that? Calm is a state where things happen in the day, but are somehow different. Calm is where extreme emotions are in check, not allowed to run over and control things and reactions. Here’s a visual. Calm is a walk through the forest. All too often what we experience is a tornado running through our lives destroying everything in its path. It’s an angry mob demanding what it wants and destroying anything in it’s way or opposing it or even seeming to oppose it. Calm is like silence.
Alone. Alone is a gift also – one I cherish when I can get it. I like people overall. However, I appreciate the times I am alone. I have traveled by myself. There are times when I have loved it because I could do what I wanted, spend extra time at some locations and move on from others. Alone is time to detach. Maybe it’s the reason I don’t have a smart phone. I don’t want one. Yes, having the internet at your fingertips would be amazing. But I also have no interest in being that available to everyone else in the world within an instant. I like to run long distances alone. It’s my time and I can go where I want and experience nature and be with God and with my thoughts. I can make sense of the world and my place in it. I can play.
Chaos is a constant in life. My point here is not to say that I want to escape the world. That is impossible. And that’s not what we are called to. What I am saying is that it is important to find your place where you can make sense of the world around you. Maybe it’s in music. For me, classical music makes sense – baroque-era specifically. Maybe it’s writing. Maybe it’s playing a sport. Maybe it’s something else.
Silence, stillness, calm and alone are my things. What are yours?