In The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis brilliantly uncovers many of the Devil's most effective attacks on Christians by way of a series of letters written from a tempter, Screwtape, to his nephew, Wormwood. In this correspondence, Screwtape advises his nephew on how best to convert the soul to whom he is assigned to the Devil's side. In one letter, he observes:
We will make the whole universe a noise in the end. We have already made great strides in this direction as regards the Earth. The melodies and silences of Heaven will be shouted down in the end.
This week's work in Path Finder guided me to think really deeply about what paths I was going to choose to take to support my word for this year (Grow) and my light words (laugh-learn-share). One path that I explored pretty deeply earlier in the week was swirling around in my mind and on the pages of my journal in an absolute frenzy on Thursday morning. I was frantic. I wanted to talk talk talk about it. I was write write writing about it. I knew I should be pray pray praying about it.
Then I opened up a link that I had read about the night before in a book that had been on my shelf for weeks, unopened. I came upon the following:
That calmed me down. I focused hard on certain words in the Psalm. WAIT in SILENCE. TRULY put your hope in God alone. Truly. Wait in silence. Wait in silence. Listen for God. Let go. (Denise, I never called you back after you returned my call. This is why. I took a deep breath and am just trying to be still for a little while to see what I might hear.)
The whole silence thing got me thinking about the many ways, including The Screwtape Letters, that I have been reminded over the years that the noise around us separates us from God.
During The Artist's Way, we were instructed to have a week of reading deprivation. Since I already know I have a lot of demons surrounding what I stick in my face and ears (TV, Internet, reading, music, morning radio shows), I grasped onto that week with vigor. I swore that I would not only not read that week (no pre-bedtime reading, no surfing the internet) but I would not listen to songs with lyrics, I would not listen to my morning show on the radio, I would only check personal e-mail once a day, and I would only watch one hour of TV a night. (I may get into that issue more later, but let's just say that if I had tried to go TV free for a week, my husband may have burned my Artist's Way book.)
The silence was deafening...but it focused things. In The Artist's Way, the reading deprivation was meant to allow you to hear your inner voice by shutting out all the other noise around you. I used it for that at that time, but I think I'm long overdue for another round of it for other purposes.
There is an excellent Nooma video that talks about our fear of silence. It is just $1.99 to watch it online. Alternatively, to my local readers, if I can find the DVD that our Sunday School class had, I'll be happy to loan it to you in person. Here's the trailer: