“I have often repented of having spoken. I have never repented of silence.”
~ Henry Suso, “Christian Mystic” and author of Little Book of Eternal Wisdom, who died in January 1366 (with thanks to JD Blom)
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I blog a lot. Too much. I have lots to say, and not enough time to say it all. Yet I spend too much time saying it, without any assurance that it makes any difference. Perhaps repentance is needed more than I’ve realized — in the more literal sense of reversing course, more than abject contrition?
I wonder whether I should be silent more. I am comforted, in a strange way, by the knowledge that some of my posts may not be seen by many people. On the other hand, thinking and writing about important things is a far better escape from vicissitudes and daily burdens than Netflix dramas (which I also indulge in). On the third hand, scripture has strong words of caution for teachers, whereas streaming reruns were not explicitly predicted by Jesus, Paul, Peter, Luke, John, or James, as far as I can tell. Maybe the world and I would be better off watching more TV?
I do think a lot about things that matter, and I am gratified to know that even a couple dozen readers will almost always be pondering the things of the Lord along with me, whether they agree or not. A core reader-group includes some who pretty much always, or at least often, glance at what I write, and many of them comment to me privately, or on Facebook, if not on this weblogsite itself.
Some of my essay-ettes may be seen by scores of people. Several dozen — 78, currently — people unknown to me are “following” my blog, yet I have reason to believe that only a dozen of these who have “found” me have any genuine interest in the kinds of things I write about. Rather, I suspect many are tied into some meta-blogging operation that automatically “likes” and “follows,” in order to hook me and others into connecting to their blogs — blogs that are in existence to sell stuff. Whatever. Maybe one of them will be drawn to consider Jesus newly at some point. (I have reciprocated with a few of them who do appear to have genuine interest.)
Not understanding the vagaries of Facebook’s algorithms, I am convinced that, every few days, more than 100 of my 400+ FB friends, including some family members, 1) see that I’ve posted another article on WordPress and 2) once again ignore the article. They might like a sound byte once in a while, such as when I posted 100 words on discouragement and encouragement directly on FB the other day. But they either don’t take the time to read my longer, more significant WordPress posts, or they don’t have the interest. Do they mutter to themselves, “There goes Brian again” and move on, or do they not even consciously notice?
Probably, they have too much noise in their lives and need more silence, not more words.
I use a lot of words, and I think about a lot of words. Words that teach. Words that describe and enhance music. Words in songs. Words in scripture. Words in Spanish or French. Words in Greek. Hebrew and Aramaic words that were translated into Greek and then into English. And, oh yes — words that spring from the veritable font that is the mouth of my neophyte-linguist son. (I never thought one so young would be interested in synonyms and meanings, as he is.)
The above paragraphs are musings about wordiness — and, indirectly, about silence. One irony is that, in spite of all my word production, there is a lot of sonic silence. (A profound poem, found in this post from more than four years and four million words ago, reminds us that in silence, we find God.)
And sometimes, a deafening silence on topics that I think might have provoked some holy noise. Maybe some responses are occurring silently, in the spiritual realm.
In the end, all creation will cease speaking and writing and yelling and cursing and whispering and gossiping. No more instructions or essays or research papers or reports or emails or commentaries. In the end, we will fall silent in the finally humble, worshipful realization of God and the return of Jesus, our Christ.
And then . . . no need for explications and definitions and laments and defenses and prophecies or any other verbal responses . . . then, only worship, whether silent or loud, forevermore.
For the next several days, I plan to be silent here myself, but I have set up several prayer posts in advance. These will not be my words; they are words from a gem of a book called Pillow Prayers. These are richly beautiful thoughts that have touched me in these current days — times in which I often feel weary, even broken, and very dependent. I hope these prayer words touch you, as well, spurring you to worship, as well.