Thursday, July 31, 2008

I noticed something for the first time

I noticed something for the first time yesterday. Visitors to this house (my oldest brother's, which is rather like the family home), and there is a fairly regular stream 0f them, are able to sit with whoever is at silence!

In all the years I had been a living-in member of this family, we have had people, from close friends to acquaintances, drop in at various times of the day and evening. Whoever is home does whatever s/he can to make them feel welcome and our visitors always do. We have treated them both as guest and as family. And although conversations may have begun animatedly at times, and tentatively at others, they continued meaningfully and in a personal yet sensitive way, often interspersed with periods of quiet - phases in which those present simply shared silence. This has been true for as far back as I can remember.

But yesterday, I actually noticed the shared silence for the first time, having taken it for granted so many times before. And it felt familiar. It felt intimate. It felt so comfortable, so tender, so sacred.

Because in the school of the Spirit
man learns wisdom through humility,
knowledge by forgetting, how to speak
by silence, how to live by dying.

By Johannes Tauler from

My heart continues to thrill in the memory of shared silence!


  1. A lovely post.
    Silence is indeed a blessed space, one that the modern world seems to insist on occupying, without invitation.
    It is a doorway that we cannot shut voluntarily - we should respect that our words, the vibrations that the voice carries with it, will touch another soul - uninvited.
    Thank you for sharing Lucy.

  2. I continue to marvel at its power and simply love this Quaker (or so I've been told) saying:

    Speak only to improve on the silence.

    To that I can only say

    ! :-)

  3. Well - I almost added to my comment that I believed that Quakers' meetings consisted mainly of contemplative silence.

    I like that - a written sign for the power of silence.

    . . . !

  4. Yeah...the power of silence...and yet, to be honest, I don't believe I have ever really heard 'silence'...I've experienced the lack of certain (more familiar) sounds but there always is some other 'sound'. If silence were to mean 'no sound at all', well, that I have yet to experience. Have you???

  5. Interestingly, no - not at all - even "on the inside" it is full of a wealth of subtle sounds - it's all relative (& they're some of the noisiest people I know - ha, ha.)