December – From the Minister

On a Wednesday evening here, we sat in a circle, about eight people, very quiet, very still. It was a perfect silence, companioned and deliberate. We heard the rain outside, clattering softly into sleet. We heard cars on the road. We heard a distant dog. We heard someone laughing in the Social Hall. We heard the heat come roaring on. We heard the choir practicing, and the clamor of chatter and farewells. We heard children racing in the hallways, and the clink and clank of dishes in the kitchen.

These were not intrusions, just signals of our common life, its right location in the midst of hustle-bustle. We rode the silence, and it held us. After a time, we opened our eyes. No one rushed to speak, but when someone said “Thank you, thank you all,” we were ready to return, ready to join our solitudes in noisy, glad communion once again.

This busy season, don’t forget to listen for the silences. Don’t forget to stop talking, texting, thinking, shopping, planning. Don’t forget to leave a margin on the crowded page, the crowded screen, of every day. Don’t forget to guard the coastline of your spirit. Don’t forget to remember who you are, and what you are, and where you come from, which is where all things come from, the deepest and most holy quietude. Maybe this is prayer or meditation, maybe quiet walking, or just three conscious breaths before you fall to sleep. Don’t forget to listen for the still small voice within you, speaking without words, singing silent music, the music of the spheres and stars, the rocks and snow, the frozen waters and the waiting, sleeping earth. Don’t forget to breathe before you set your hands again to all the work of joy and peace and love that the days ahead require and deserve.

-Rev. Victoria Safford