Hour 8 -- Reflections of Silence (first hour) When I was a teenager, one of the songs on the Top 10 Hit Parade was "Silence is Golden," which struck an ironic chord in my life since I was the oldest of seven siblings--six sisters and a baby brother. As a result of this type of family life, I am comfortable in crowds of people, but no one wants to be around me if I don't get regular times of silence and solitude. Therefore, a Silent Retreat sounded like a gift from God to me.
We actually started out with a meal and conversation. Pleasantries were exchanged and then at 7 p.m. we had community worship that lead into silence. I had forgotten how beautiful communal prayers and sung prayers can be (I was raised in a church that had these types of prayers). I imagine such prayers could become mindless repetition, but I'm not sure I know that to be true. I think I've just read such comments. Would they become mindless repetition if they changed -- a different reading, a different prayer, a different choral response? I did have a moment when I did not attend to the words: I was so caught up in the beauty of the sound of the words, spoken and sung, that I had to go back and read what was just said. No permanent damage was done to my soul.
After prayer, we began our free time of silence. I've heard one can not wear masks in silence. Not so. I grabbed my Bible, and in the middle of Bible reading had to wonder why I chose to read my Bible. Would I have seemed less spiritual if I played with the dog? Not to God. He could have spoken to me through playing with the dog; yet, He graciously spoke to me through the books I read.