Friday, March 21, 2014

Finding the Sacred in the Silence

I don't think I'll ever be able to braid together words and sentences to adequately describe the experience a family goes through in having a child with a chronic illness.  I feebly attempt to bring melody and meaning to my words, but in it there is always a lacking.  Seems the asphalt of words fails to properly fill the potholes in the experience of the heart.  Maybe there are things that can't be described or illustrated, but only known and felt.

I dread the after-moments of each hospital discharge.  They are always bittersweet.  And eerily quiet.  We feel so thankful that our boy is well enough to come home and another episode is over, but we know the emotional aftermath that awaits.  There is an ache that sits perched and stuck on the dry branches of the heart.  Too much to untangle.  These moments always leave me feeling strange.
A bit more unrelateable.
A little more scarred.

I've been chewing on this silence all day.
Gnawing on it really.

During each hospitalization it's as if life gets put on pause.  Bills, laundry, exercise, cleaning, sleep, routine.  It all just stops abruptly.  We find ourselves caught in a pitstop of pause needing to run and catch up with life's fast train racing by.  Entering back into "normalcy" feels a bit like trying to jump into a game of double dutch after spinning around in circles blindfolded.  It takes a while to find our bearings again.  There is a dizziness in words as I search for balance of the heart.

For as long as I can remember I have had a love affair with words.  As a little girl I kept a diary, journaled, and loved to read and write.  Words make up my primary love language too, so to find myself without them feels off.  Amiss. a gangly-limbed adolescent.  Words painted properly will move, stretch, dance, play, comfort and convict.  They evoke emotion and make sense and rhythm out of life and her experiences.  The untangling of feelings and experience into smooth strands of words helps me to make sense of things.  It irons out the wrinkles.  Tidies things up straight and neat in my heart enabling me to move forward.  They act as a comb to those knotted emotions.  So how does one work through the knots when the comb is missing?

I find myself stuttering in this space of silence.

My husband reacts much the same.  He has a hard time talking about our experience and often retreats in the days following as he processes all that's occurred.  I get it.  We get each other.  There's a known-ness that unites us, even if words are absent, because we just walked through and lived out an experience together.  We find comfort in being in each other's presence where words aren't necessary.  We crave this silent togetherness.  It's not that we shy away from sharing and don't want to talk about it...we just find ourselves void of adequate expression.

In a space of silence.

I've been thinking a lot about this silent space today.  It may feel strange or awkward.  But sometimes there's comfort in it, as described between my husband and I.  Silence can create or indicate a nature of intimacy.  And as I wrestle in silence in my search for words it made me think that maybe this is the way it is supposed to be.  Maybe God intended it to be this way.

It was as if I heard Him whispering, "Let Me come into the silent spaces of your heart.  You don't need words; you need Me." Maybe the void of words is necessary to remind me that only He can fill those silent spaces.  That that space is reserved for Him alone.  Perhaps those vacant holes of silence give us breathing room and serve to keep us united to Him.

In the absence of words, we create space for His presence.

He alone can cover and smooth those empty places.  I don't need to find words to find healing.  And I find comfort that even in the moments I am wordless, communication still flows through the groans of His Spirit who's interceding for us.  He hears what I cannot say.

Being reminded of this allows me to rest in this silence.  To view it as a gift of sacredness.  Not something to awkwardly shake hands with, but rather something to crawl up into the lap of.  Maybe this is part of what it really means to "Be still and know that He is God."  

I'm learning that the process of healing and moving forward can be found even in the absence of words.  Where we create space to hear His voice.  I'm finding it to be a balm to the brokenness.  Salve to the spirit.  Healing to the hurt.  And in the heart's silence, He often speaks the loudest.  For when we find ourselves in His presence, quiet before Him, we are able to hear above the noise of the world and the noise of our own wordless hearts.  He speaks in these quiet places and gives rest. I'm listening.

Silence can be a space for the soul to find rest in the sacred.
Instead of shunning the silence, I can find sacredness in it.

I'll nestle up to this possibility.
Allowing Him to fill and speak to those quiet spaces of the heart.
As I learn to find the sacred in the silence.


  1. Silence Speaks When Words Can't. That is a saying to remember.

    People who are close, such as spouses, parents and their kids, and good friends, can appreciate that silence.

    Silence is also an important spiritual discipline. The desert fathers practiced it for hours at a time. I've not been able to do that!

    Silence can be very appropriate when bringing a child home from the hospital. It is time for thinking, feeling, and even receiving healing.

    I hope your son's health continues to improve and stabilize. Is this something he will eventually outgrow? Is there treatment for it?

    Praying for you all.

    And, I can tell you have an interest in words. I did as far back as elementary school as well. I used to keep little pads to write down words I heard or read so I could look them up later.


  2. Thank you Warren. Your words always speak truth and encouragement.

    And yes, we have an excellent treatment plan for our son to follow, given from an expert in this field (the specialist we saw in Wisconsin who has worked with thousands of CVS sufferers around the world and has dedicated his life to the research and treatment of this illness)...our problem exists in getting the ERs/hospitals to follow this protocol. Right when we thought we had all our ducks in a row for this, our insurance changed, and with that so did the doctors/hospitals who have helped fine-tune this treatment.

    And yes, CVS is something that many children outgrow. If this happens, it usually develops into migraines (since CVS is believed to be born out of the migraine family). I have always believed, and fervently pray that my son will outgrow this.

    I can relate to your love of words from an early age on...before I could read I remember making a promise to myself that when I did learn to read, I would read every single word in front of credits and all! I've always had a feracious appetite for words.