Silence

I started working for my church in June. Back when I was working at another church, I always wished to work for this church. It honestly makes things so much easier. I can’t claim to know nearly everyone who attends this church, but I have a much better idea of who people are compared to the last job. I get to work with people I have looked up to in leadership and that has helped me feel more at home in the congregation. We even have a courtyard, which is pretty cool. Have I utilized it yet? No. But I will.

I also have the opportunity on very quiet, slow days to take a few minutes to just sit in silence and think. On most week days, the sanctuary is empty and eerily quiet, perfect for contemplation.

Last week, I was brooding over things  while working in the office. I had gone outside to get the mail, and wandered through the sanctuary on my way back to my office. I’m not entirely sure what led me to walk through the sanctuary, possibly the fact that earlier it was full of energetic children practicing for their upcoming musical.

I slowly wandered through the room, only lit by the sun streaming through the windows. It struck me how much different it can feel on a Wednesday afternoon than it does on a Sunday morning. There is a rush of activity and so many people in the sanctuary before the service begins. But on Wednesday afternoons, there is stillness and peace.

I almost felt as if I shouldn’t be in the sanctuary. But at the same time, a calmness swept over me. I sat down on a bench for a moment and then decided to lay down on my back.

When I was a child learning how to pray, I somehow picked up the habit of looking up to the ceiling or sky, depending on my surroundings. I know most people bow their heads. But as a child, I pictured God living above us in the sky. So naturally I looked above when praying.

As I lay on that bench, I stared at the white ceiling above me. I don’t know what I even said to God; I think he said more to me than I said to him. I do remember the calmness and serenity washing over me.

My life can be so busy that I forget to take the time to listen. I am a good listener to my friends, but I don’t always listen so well to the spirit. The spirit isn’t tangibly in front of me so it’s easy to forget about it. But taking even just those five minutes in the day to listen, nudged me to want that more.

Our world is constantly yelling at us. But in the sanctuary, there was none of that.

I realize not everyone can retreat into a silent sanctuary and just be still and silent. But taking just five minutes can drastically improve mental health. I hope to build those five minutes into much longer periods of silence and listening.

Just not at work, of course. ;)

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