Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Power of Silence

This world can pull us from all sides. We worry about the future, we have people engage us in battle, injustice seems all too prevalent, or we dream and are focused and act on achieving our dream. It can be an intellectual dream to attain further education, a goal in a career or something personal like getting married or starting a family. The noise in our minds can be overpowering. And sometimes getting busy, communicating aimlessly or getting distracted in some way seems like the thing we need to do to silence our minds so we can get away from the anguish of living in the future or ruminating about past mistakes.

Paradoxically the opposite is true. If we sit and are silent, slowly the voices stop. Slowly we let God work and let God in. This is not a luxury; it is necessary. And so in this vein I will end with the noise with a true personal story of when silence saved me.

Long ago when I was in college, the Internet, cell phones, iPhones, Facebook and all the wonders of technology were either in their infancy or not a current inspiration in our world. In those days, I had incredible moments of total faith and dependence on God. This one moment was one of those magical times I will always remember.

I was attending U of I in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. I could not have been more than 20 or 21 and I was driving back after a weekend trip to Chicago. I was driving an older Honda Civic when suddenly my vehicle locked up and died. I managed to pull off the road away from oncoming traffic. It was about 6pm and it was getting dark. I was on the south side of Chicago in not such a safe part of town. There wasn't any technology to aid me. It is a grace filled moment when you are alone and perceive helplessness and impending danger.

After my brain flooded me with all the catastrophes that could happen, I paused and thought to myself, “Pray.” I made the choice and had to get to a quiet and silent place. My mind quieted and I prayed that someone would come help me. After finishing the prayer, I was at peace sitting in the car.

The noise of my logical mind came back at me," Well you can't just sit here. You have to get out and try to flag someone down." Almost as soon as I got out of the car, I noticed that two gentlemen had already stopped. The first was in front of me in a station wagon. He was a middle-aged professional-looking white man about 35. I will call him Ed, since I can't remember his name.

At first I was relieved but then the noise filled my head:"Oh he could be a pervert. They come in all shapes and sizes you know." Then I turned and noticed someone behind me. He was another middle-aged African-American man in a beat-up pick up truck. That fear was greater, and so I thanked him for stopping and said the gentleman in front was first.

I decided to let the noise go and was friendly and greeted Ed. He asked what had happened and I explained. After looking under the hood he asked if I would like a ride to the gas station and see about my car. I said sure. As I got in the passenger’s side of his station wagon, I began to be talkative and friendly as if he was a long lost family friend. After a few minutes, he turned to me and said, "You are awfully calm." "When I stopped I did not know that you were a young woman and I thought you might be scared." I said as a matter of fact, "Oh, well I knew it was going to be OK, because I prayed." Ed's face went white as a sheet. He then told me his story.

He was in a rush trying to get to a dinner party and was running late. He saw a stranded vehicle and a person out of his peripheral vision and thought, “No, I don't have time to stop unfortunately.” As he passed my car, he felt a knife stab in the heart and a voice say turn back.

He said he was a born again Christian, and it is not often he gets these types of signs but when he does he listens. We bonded immediately. After taking me to the gas station, he took me to meet his wife and children. After socializing for a bit, I asked him to drop me off at the greyhound bus so that I could get back to school. We hugged and knew we would never see each other again, but we were both moved for having gone through a grace filled moment.

In our interior and exterior battles here on this earth, it is my prayer that you and I will take the time to silence the voices. That we take the time to be still and listen. God awaits us in the power of silence.


Anonymous said...
February 7, 2012 at 7:49 AM  

A wonderful story that boost spiritual life. I belive in that!

Anonymous said...
April 15, 2012 at 12:09 AM  

I really would like to read more about your trips.
Did you regreat anything on your life? How do you deal with that?
I have hard time forgiving and thinking How can I do it? please Can you write about it.


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