Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Silence, Rest and Solitary Places

" 'Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.' So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place." Mark 6: 31b-32

Silence. Pure quiet, hear-my-own-heartbeat silence is where I'm most comfortable. Silence is where I rest. Silence is where I gather insights through reading. Silence is where I process life. Silence is where my heart talks and my hands write. Silence is where I hear God whisper loud and clear.

So much of life is full of noise. Screeching sirens, clacking train tracks, engine whistles, honking horns, people walking, children crying, people talking, talking, talking; talking to me or talking at me in real life or on T. V. It's all the same. It's all noise.

When Jesus was at the peak of his ministry his days were full of people, noise and activity. He traveled miles in a day, teaching and performing miracles along the way. People as demanding as the paparazzi followed him around the countryside hoping for a glimpse, a touch, or a word. By the end of the day, he said to his disciples, "I'm beat. Let's get outta here!" Okay, maybe not those exact words but that's what he would've said in modern-day English. In those moments, he taught us all a great lesson: Rest comes when we retreat to a solitary place, with Him.

Today has been one of those solitary days. I've rested...retreated most of the day with only the sound of the ticking clock and the flame of the pellet stove for noise. My mind is rejuvenated; thoughts are flowing and I'm able to gain perspective on things that have been mulling around inside my head. My spirit is fed and while I'm digesting, new ideas are born. That's the creative process of silence.

Jesus knew the importance of silence and the creative process. Without both work and rest, our creativity suffers. Work allows our thoughts, ideas, visions to become tangible objects. But rest is where more thoughts, ideas and visions germinate.

We don't have to be secluded or alone to enjoy the benefits of rest. Jesus rested while he was surrounded by his dearest friends. He even invited them to his solitary place. We too, can enjoy silence, rest and take those we love with us. There are many nights my husband and I spend hours, shoulder-to-shoulder, in silence. We enjoy the presence of one another without speaking a word.

Other times, maybe in the instance of this scripture today, our rest includes decompressing together from the hard day in the seclusion of our living room. We block out the world and share stories of big and small victories or put our hearts out on the table when it's been less than a stellar day. We laugh. We cry. We disagree. We listen. We encourage. We come together. We rest. We end the day together in silence.

Don't fear the silence but relish it. Take full advantage of time, however small or large the chunk, go to a solitary place (even the bathroom) and sit in silence. Allow the day to drain from your veins and invite God's whispers to fill your heart. It's in these moments of rest where God's seed can germinate and we are prepared for the work ahead.


  1. It's so easy for our thoughts to get lost in the noise and clutter of a busy day. I often find silence while walking. It's a nice way to tune in to quiet parts of life ...

  2. Joanne, I agree. Walking is a way to tune out the noise of life while tuning into the serenity of nature.