Finding Quiet: Silence as Presence

by Judith Dupree June 18, 2015

The world is speeding up, and I am slowing down. It was inevitable. It's all right, of course… mostly. As I grow older, life enhances the quiet ways and shoves at the expediencies that used to shove at me.

It is good to quiet down, to make pause without breaking faith with my to-do list, or someone else's. Good to miss a beat in my endless rumba with that great god Expectation. To laugh at my clumsiness. To slow dance with the Holy Ghost. To fall in love with all the neighbors I have never known, and marvel over the way yeast rises and makes miracles.

I begin to practice yearning, hungering―fingering the world for a larger scope of being, foraging for things that lean back in time and connect with the unknown known. For all the maybe's I have spilt along the way, that maybe spilled into the eternal. Now, here, I begin to stop and listen to life more suddenly, and, oh, oh I hope more freely.

I think we get lost so easily in the great cacophony that pervades on planet earth. Does this sound overstated? Hyperbole? Of course; and yet, it happens every day, to all of us.

We vibrate to the whole of life, even in our essential partial-ness, our chosen partialities. What is out there pervades. Invades. We cannot help it; we are caught up and moved along by the great, lumbering sum of all the infinitesimal parts. An endless, sometimes relentless tide. We are, each, one of those small fractions, often rubbed raw, bruised by the enormities and the sum of all the smallnesses. It is as hard to put words to all this as it is to live with it. The world, indeed, is too much with us. And so silence, a certain kind of silence, truly is golden.

We so need a sense of it―of silence as a presence within a welter of external stimuli. This reality is dear to me―that silence hides within the bedlam. It is near-aberration in an age of "auditory graphics," when all that engulfs the world is poured out upon us by every media, from every angle, for every purpose. As if there is no other way to live?

Of course. What we must treasure, what I am defining is peace. What is notable is that it is imparted in such a way that it bides with us, resides within us. This is renascence! A revelation that becomes a revolution. There is a quiet, a storm shelter, built to the scale of the human heart.

HE says: My peace I give unto you.

Within these few words lie an inner world of rest.

This is peace which cannot long hide beneath our hide. It becomes unquenchable. It flings itself against the ramparts of our neuroses until they crack. It breaks through every Yes, but… that we have posited. The days both here and there and everywhere grow full, full, full of slow or sudden, timeless, ephemeral Graces. They swallow up the nervous jangle of urgencies that wrap us daily.

Be still and know that I am God! I will be exalted…

If His Kingdom is real, it must lie both beyond and within the cacophony. It simply must. And if we are to survive, and to thrive―to live well within our own skin and cope with whatever lies before us, beyond us, we will receive that Rest within the silence that lies beneath the noise.

The "noise" of life doesn't own us. Finding that quiet "place" beneath―yes, within the existential clang―becomes our grounding, the birth-place of miracles. We carry the seeds wherever we go.




Judith Dupree
Judith Dupree

Author

Judith Deem Dupree's first nonfiction book, Sky Mesa Journal, was published by Wipf and Stock Publishers in 2016. She also has three prior volumes of poetry. Judith founded and directed (1996-2010) Ad Lib, a retreat and workshop for persons of faith engaging in creative arts. An establishing member of the San Diego Christian Writers Guild, she served on the board for many years, teaching locally and nationally. Judith also created and co-directed Mountain Empire Creative Arts Council in eastern San Diego County. Her current projects relate to completing work in fiction, music and drama, and always, poetry.



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