“Silence enables the awareness that we are infinitely cared for and permits us to work through the consequences of this.”
The Quaker master of the spiritual life, Douglas Steere, uttered these words on one of the first silent retreats I attended at Dayspring. In the blessed silence, unrelenting chatter is offered up to the Holy Spirit, that miracles of grace might unfold in our lives. One quiet afternoon through the open doors and windows of the Lodge of the Carpenter, I heard the awesome sound of wings of Canadian geese borne on air flying low overhead. Even they were observing the silence with no honking but apparently only rejoicing in the wondrous joy of being who they were created to be.
In that moment wounds were soothed and I felt the merciful God very close to me. This is one of the gifts of the silence, where freed from the necessity of playing roles, I knew I wanted to be opened to the gifts which the Holy Spirit had in store for me. I then understood in a new way the words of the Psalmist, “Be still!” Only then can I be attentive and expectant for the word which God may have for me in that moment, whether of repentance, forgiveness or a new sense of what God asks of me for the next stage of the journey of faith and service.
God, I offer to you who I am and where I am in life. I pray that you will work in me the grace to be receptive to your call on my life in this moment of change. May my life give you honor and praise. Amen.
-Conrad Hoover (Collected in Memories and Meditations, Dayspring Retreat Jubilee 1956-2006)