And silence, like a poultice, comes to heal the blows of sound. ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes
When I lived in the Bay Area, from time to time I’d drive up into the Santa Cruz mountains and down a small side road off the main highway. Near the top of the mountains, there is a small church with a wooden deck built to the side of the building that has a view down the mountains all the way to the ocean. After parking the car and turning off the engine, I would walk over to the deck to wait for it….for the moment when my ears registered the almost complete lack of noise. After the daily onslaught of traffic sounds and city sounds and office sounds, my ears were invariably confused about what to do with the lack of auditory input. It almost felt like they were physically vibrating to try and create their own sounds to take the place of the missing noise. Within a few moments they always acclimated to the quiet and I could begin to hear the usually imperceptible sounds of the soft breeze and the occasional cry of birds.
When I make space for solitude, my soul isn’t always ready to embrace it. After the daily onslaught of the noise of life….the hurried busy-ness, the wounds caused by harsh words, the energy requirements of caring for the people I love, the worries and fears and concerns….when I first enter a solitary space, my soul tends to vibrate and my attention bounces around trying to find some kind of noise to fill up the space. But when I persist, staying in the quiet, my soul begins to acclimate and unbend. Before long I realize I am noticing things in my soul that I was unable to sense in the middle of all the life noise.
This is Day 22 of 31 Days of Soul Tending and the focus is embracing solitude, providing space for contemplation and meditating with God. Solitude isn’t necessarily very comfortable at first, but embracing solitude gives the opportunity to see things that were out of focus or hidden in the noise of life. When I look at today’s photo, I envision solitude enveloping me much like dusk is draping itself around the shoulders of the city, revealing reflections of colour in the sky and light on the water that would never be visible during the hectic light of day.