December 11 2017

By: Jackie Hook
Monday, December 11, 2017

I continue with my thoughts about Silence. What Does It Teach Us?

In the Christian tradition, John of the Cross said, “Silence is God’s first language.” There is a power to silence. In my roles as a celebrant and spiritual director, I sit with people to hear the stories of their lost loved ones’ lives as we create an honoring ritual for them. I sit with others and hear them processing their journeys through grief after loss, sharing their spiritual life and longings, and musings about aging. I watch them intently as they share. At those times when there is quiet, it is very apparent when it is silence with significant meaning, not just a pause of not knowing what to say next. We can sit in that silence for some time. When they eventually turn their gaze towards me, I ask the next question. These people are not even aware of how long we’ve been in silence. Much is going on for them.

Parker Palmer, a writer, speaker, and activist, also appreciates the power of silence. In his work to create Circles of Trust -- safe gatherings for sharing -- one of his touchstones is, “Trust and learn from the silence. Silence is a gift in our noisy world, and a way of knowing in itself. Treat silence as a member of the group. After someone has spoken, take time to reflect without immediately filling the space with words.”

I have come to love silence – it feels spacious, free, peaceful, healing and loving. However, this was not always the case.  I remember the silence of first living alone after college – I often filled it with background noise. Not today. Now I leave it as it is, silent, and I’m drawn to it.

(First printed in the 2017 Fall Issue of Centered Magazine)

Leave a comment
Name*:
Email:
Comment*:

Comments

Please wait

Previous Posts

January 27 2020

Another important piece of the “You got this!” encouragement for us as grievers includes reminding us to take care of ourselves. Grief can be exhausting and we need to be gentle with ourselves on t...

January 20 2020

In one education and support group I co-facilitate, we ask the participants to think of the person who is most supportive of them on their grief journey. Almost every group member chooses someone w...

January 13 2020

If I had recently lost a loved one and a friend said to me, “You got this!” I’m not sure I would appreciate it. With grief, it can help to hold it inside a supportive community where we can release...

January 6 2020

This month our theme is “You Got This!” That might seem to be an odd theme when discussing the grief we feel after losing loved ones, because that grief can feel like “we don’t have this.” It can f...

December 30 2019

As 2019 comes to an end and we get ready to start a new year, I invite you to include a practice of gratitude in your day. Some people write down five things they’re grateful for. Some even decide ...

December 23 2019

I often say that grief and gratitude are two sides of the same coin, although, no one says it better than Kahlil Gibran: “The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contai...

December 16 2019

When I work with people who have lost a loved one, they are acutely aware of the impact one person has on others. They experience the loss of that every day. With our December theme of “It’s a Wond...

December 9 2019

As we continue with our theme of “It’s a Wonderful Life!” I have people in my life who I want to learn the lesson of how they’ve mattered; you probably do too. Why not tell them by finishing this s...

December 2 2019

This month our theme is “It’s a Wonderful Life!” One of my all-time favorite movies is It’s a Wonderful Life! When I was a child, it was shown multiple times each holiday season and every time Zuzu...

November 25 2019

Not only is it important to learn to listen to grievers and others, it is important to learn to listen to ourselves. I appreciate these words from Philip Cousineau: “Ask yourself what is absurd in...