True Silence

 

Silence,

true silence

Is not just about the absence of sound.

 

That, in fact, is hard,

If not impossible

To attain.

 

It is about the silence of the heart,

A laying to rest,

Of self absorption

And justification —

 

Of malice

And hubris —

Of the constant chatter

We suppose is grand,

 

Framing our claims

To virtue,

Independence,

Superiority,

And control.

 

It is a silence

That listens

For The Voice

Above all other voices —

 

A voice not of our own making

Or even of our best selves —

 

That speaks

Of purposes

And dimensions

That lay in Eden’s cradle,

 

Making claims on us

That cannot be captured

By schemes

Or designs

Born of our impoverished imagination

 

It is a silence

Filled with love,

But fierce

In its demands —

 

Heard only with time

And attention,

Born of humility

And the passion to hear.

About Frederick Schmidt

The Reverend Dr. Frederick W. Schmidt, Jr. holds the Rueben P. Job Chair in Spiritual Formation at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, IL, and directs the Rueben Job Institute for Spiritual Formation. He is an Episcopal Priest, spiritual director, retreat facilitator, conference leader, writer, and consulting editor at Church Publishing in New York. He is the author of numerous published articles and reviews, as well as several books: A Still Small Voice: Women, Ordination and the Church (Syracuse University Press, 1998), The Changing Face of God (Morehouse, 2000), When Suffering Persists (Morehouse, 2001), in Italian translation: Sofferenza, All ricerca di una riposta (Torino: Claudiana, 2004), What God Wants for Your Life (Harper, 2005), Conversations with Scripture: Revelation (Morehouse, 2005), Conversations with Scripture: Luke (Morehouse, 2009), and The Dave Test (Abingdon, 2013). He and his wife, Natalie (who is also an academic and an Episcopal priest), live in Highland Park, Illinois, with their Gordon Setter, Hilda of Whitby. They have four children and four grandchildren: Henry, Addie, Heidi, and Sophie.


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