The sun is hot, beaming gloriously from the backdrop of a cloud-free sky in north-eastern New Brunswick. There is noise everywhere in what is one of the most silent places I know. A neighbour’s voice carries several hundred meters across the river like the tinkling of a church bell. A tractor rumbles and a truck caroms over the slots connecting the bridge to the road. Even here, silence is scarce.
Nowhere is silence more scarce than in our mind and heart. Noises crash in relentless waves from the hurts of yesterday and the anxieties of tomorrow. An older woman has not spoken eye-to-eye to her sister in 30 years. Her outward silence is her punishment for the crimes of their youth, rooted in the jealousy of uneven parental affection. A young woman takes a year off school to find herself. Who am I, she wonders and what is my destiny?
We abhor inner silence. The noise is deafening as truth whispers, begs and finally screams to be set free. Stubbornly, we repeatedly slam the door to our heart shut. We distract and we numb out. Dots on a screen fulfill the former while obsessions and addictions grant us the latter.
A moment arrives at four in the morning, sleeping in a house trailer under a black, starry night. I am in silence. I know I have it because I am not thinking I have it. I am just being. My mind, heart and soul melt into one prayer for one person. No other thought enters my awareness. The completeness is beyond words.
This silence, this communion with God, lasts only a few moments. Becoming aware of the moment steals it away. Conscious thinking is our obstacle. The noise has returned. Then comes sleep. A deep, revitalizing sleep. When I awaken, I am aware that I was blessed. By silence.