Since the birth of the Silent Extrovert, I’ve had a lot of time on my hands for online exploration. One of the people I stumbled upon is Fr. Mike Schmitz, a wacky, extroverted priest who talks on a bunch of interesting topics. I love listening to his videos because they are short, entertaining and packed with lots of spiritual information. A couple days ago, I noticed he had a video titled “The Value of Silence.” I’ll let you watch it, and afterward, I’ll share the things that really struck me. (Don’t worry! You don’t have to be Catholic to appreciate this.)
“God’s first language is silence.” When I heard that statement, it really hit home. In February, just after my vocal cord injury, but before I knew I would need surgery, I attended a silent retreat. (I had registered for this retreat at the end of last year at the prompting of my spiritual director. Do you think God might have had a plan to prepare me for the last few weeks?) It was during that weekend that I began to appreciate that “the message” lies in the silence. Whatever answer I’m seeking lies in the silence. Now, “the message” doesn’t always come during the silence, but it comes if I practice finding silence. I’ve learned to take my focus off the answer and put my focus on the finding of silence.
As Fr. Mike says in the video, “God reveals ourselves to ourselves in silence.” This was something I experienced about 10 years ago when I arrived at the doors of 12-step recovery. Prior to 2009, I avoided silence at all costs. I was scared to death to hear anything other than MY voice mapping out MY plan for MY life. Well, that all fell apart, and I had to consider another way of life. “Little by slow,” I became open to getting quiet, to allowing who I was to be revealed. I admit, it wasn’t fun at first; seeing yourself as you really are can be overwhelming. As was stated in the video, “Silence is the great magnifyer of whatever is in our hearts.” True that! My heart before 2009 was filled with anxiety and fear, so no wonder, I was silence-avoidant! Sitting with my thoughts and feelings took courage, but answers came…and they came even more quickly when I let God into the equation. Imagine that! I stopped trying to figure it all out, got quiet and asked God for His input.
“Silence is boring.” I loved that line. When I’m bored, I’ve learned that I’m most likely experiencing serenity. It’s taken me 10 years to get use to that feeling. Today, I don’t find silence boring. I do, however, find it slow moving.
Today’s Silent Extrovert post is may be a little less practical and may be a little more spiritual, but then, what could be more practical than engaging the creator of the universe in solving the problems that arise in my day-to-day life?
Which brings me to the last quote I loved from this video:
“All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” Blaise Pascal
On Day #29, I challenge you to sit quietly in a room alone. See what you come up with!