Photo by Julie P.Peterson
It was the aftermath of below zero nights but with sunny days. For a week it had snowed, steady and it began to pile up a bit. Mounds not seen for a decade and the blinding glisten was welcome. Visions of sledding and skiing were replaced with roof raking and blowing snow with two machines. Cleaning up at the mailbox far down the driveway after the plow truck came through..again. Shoveling to the wood shed for wheelbarrows filled with wood for the porch to be fed into the parlor stove. Shoveling the dog kennel and clearing a long path to the chicken coop for the daily harvest of brown and green eggs. Cars disappeared along with other objects of worth and need. The good alcohol free fuel began to disappear as well. It never seemed to end, Waving our son off to work with his all wheel drive station wagon and then do it all over again after the night’s snowfall.
This must be what Sigurd Olsen was writing about. Our quest for being in a place that the desert fathers wrote about was given free reign. Another quote to augment those thoughts from Vincent Van Gogh: “ There may be a great fire in our soul, yet no one ever comes to warm himself at it, and the passerby only see a wisp of smoke coming through the chimney, and go along their way”
Jack find’s it difficult to silence his voice within. So many things ‘come to mind’ The latest disappointment or betrayal by those who have power over him. Frustrations, failures, puzzles and a perceived loss of some sort.
Pastors and ministers know this well. They have pursued passion and found some, but cannot express it to inspire with yet another sermon. The inner voices of the parishioners demand attention. The loss of listening occurs quickly when the minds voice flows out of our mouth. The only feature of our head that puts forth rather than takes in.
An amusing but accurate situation is when a speaker of wisdom asks for the hearer(s) be silent and contemplative. “How long is this going to go on?” “I wonder what’s for lunch” “is scratching my head a break of silence?” We cannot do this for long, we need to talk or at least think about how much gas for our truck is going to cost just down the street. Often we think what is needed is for our thoughts to come forth.
Rare but remembered with longing is a room filled with silence and dazed countenances that hint at eternity.
When I find myself, at last before my creator, what can I say or even think? A word that falls way short of that would just be ‘thank you’ Is it even possible to ask, “Great! What’s next on your agenda?”
Silence is golden it is said. Why do I have so much trouble with that? It is not silence of speech, it is silence of thought. There is something someone said about taking every thought captive. Try it sometime. Just look out of your favorite window, wrapped in a nice quilt. Perhaps in ‘your chair’ Everyone knows which one it is.
Don’t even think about what you see, just look and perhaps listen to the silence overwhelming.
Jack loves to talk. He is what is known as a raconteur. One who loves to tell stories, mostly about himself. A much better way that he is discovering is to write about them. Listening well to the quiet voice of God is so much more fulfilling that seeing how his stories fall upon listeners who hardly believe them. Fascinated by our own excuses of life, success and failure. All of it meaningless says the Psalmist. We wax and wane in and out of season, but the intensity of silence and solitude generate stunning reality that transcends our ego.
Again, Jack knows the wisdom of his track laying days. STOP LOOK LISTEN. Perhaps we didn’t know that early railroad builders knew a few things about silence leading to wisdom. It’s pretty good. Jack Gator