Species of Silence

"I had an intuition that when you really annunciate what you want in the world you will always be greeted...with some species of silence. It may be that the silence is there so that you can hear exactly what you have asked for, and hear it more clearly so that you can get it right. If the goal is real and intensely personal, as it should be, others naturally should not be able to understand it the first time it finds its own voice. It means in a way, in a very difficult way, that you are on to something." -
David Whyte, Crossing the Unknown Sea

Do you like to be greeted with silence after you've annunciated something you want to the world? Yeah, me neither. I like for folks to fawn all over it and declare it brilliant, groundbreaking, truly inspired. But if Whyte is right, and I believe he is, then when that happens, it may be an indicator that I've not really annunciated what I want. I may be playing to a particular audience, telling folks what I know they'll fawn all over or find truly inspiring. It may, no doubt, be something I do have an affinity for or be gifted at, but it may not be what I really want. Heralding the real stuff to the world is always greeted with "some species of silence." Rats.

But the wisdom of the quote above rings through again, for this "silence" might reveal I've annunciated something "real and intensely personal." How could someone else possibly understand it? It's something foreign to them, at least at first. I love Whyte's phrase - "intensely personal." Intensely personal could be read as "odd" because it is those things, those hopes and dreams, those affinities or quirks that reveal our "differentness" from others. We all share this thing called humanity, but we're not all the same.

I wonder if the same kind of thing happens when we truly annunciate what we want to God? If the silence we often experience in prayer is not absence but allowance? An "allowing" us to hear exactly what we've asked for? An "allowing" for that prayer or desire or hope to really find its voice? Maybe some of our prayers begin as personal, but God allows the experience of silence so that they might become "intensely personal." Maybe.

If you really read the quote I began with and you really read that last paragraph, then you might respond with, "Well, Dirty Shamer, are you saying that possibly God might not understand some of the things we pray, at least at first? And that He needs time to learn us and those intensely personal things about us? Are you saying that God might not fully know us and His knowledge of us is ever unfolding as days pass? Are you crazy enough to suggest that God may have created us with some things hidden to Him and that by design He discovers new things about us along the way? Are you even remotely hinting at an open, ever-evolvingness to the God who is the same yesterday, today, and forevermore?

If I were to say those things, you'd think me odd. And probably respond with silence.

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