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

August 20 2018

It is my experience that many people are able to laugh, even right after a death. When I sit with family members and hear stories of their loved ones’ lives, laughter is often part of the sharing. ...

August 13 2018

Continuing with our theme of Humor to Help Heal, laughter has been used in Healing for centuries. The Ancient Greeks employed clowns in Hippocrates time. And today studies show that laughter: reduc...

August 6 2018

Our theme this month is Humor to Help Heal. There is a scene in the movie Steel Magnolias where Sally Field’s character is leaving her daughter’s funeral and experiences several emotions in a few m...

July 30 2018

Shifting Your Connection can be done in countless ways. Below are 16 tips taken from https://whatsyourgrief.com: Talk to them.  Write letters to the person you lost.   Keep photos of...

July 23 2018

A favorite story regarding Shifting Your Connection involves a woman I knew who lost her husband of many years. She was a strong, faith-filled woman who looked for light in as many places as she co...

July 16 2018

Shifting Your Connection is a topic I appreciate discussing with individuals. Many mourners are afraid of being judged for wanting to continue bonds with their deceased loved ones and they’re so gr...

July 9 2018

When I introduced Shifting Your Connection last week, I spoke about how the continuing bonds theory allowed for grievers to continue relationships with their deceased loved ones instead of striving...

July 2 2018

July’s theme is Shifting Your Connection. When a loved one dies, grievers used to be encouraged to “let go” of the relationship with the deceased. After the 1996 release of the book Continuing Bond...

June 25 2018

We invite you to engage in creative expressions. Write a story, create something, listen to music and/or whenever you see something that expresses how you feel, take a picture of it. The options ar...

June 18 2018

If you’re interested in the science behind creative expression and healing, see this research summary: In 2010, a review of existing literature on the benefits of the arts (music, visual arts, dan...