Morning comes and I strike a match
to begin the day with an act of faith
The small, silent flame my symbol
of your existence.
It’s been years now since
this morning-time filled journal pages with
questions answered, scriptures illumined,
dreams interpreted, hope realized.
So many words.
It was easy then to believe you loved me
Because you told me so
Then you went mute
And the wilderness stretched out long and dry
And welcomed me as a resident
Not just a passer-by.
I tried everything to get you to talk to me again
But nothing worked, so I assigned to you cruel motives
Victimized by a prejudiced and forgetful
God who does not see me.
It took awhile for me to accept
That it wasn’t my fault
And the wilderness had something to teach me
So I should unpack my bags and let it.
Once I settled into the silence
I discovered a presence so vast and pervasive
That words are unnecessary –
I realized that just because you weren’t talking
Didn’t mean you weren’t here, weren’t listening.
I stopped saying, “God doesn’t talk to me anymore.”
“God doesn’t talk to me in the way He used to” was more true.
I recognized your presence as everywhere
not just right here
And the silence as a loving call deeper
not as a cold withholding.
I remembered that you are always communicating
Through the squirrel burying walnuts
The frost pattern on fall leaves
The bluebird on a lamppost.
I re-learned you have plenty to say
Through my son’s twinkly eyes
And my friend’s kindly words
And the ancient texts still alive.
And I learned for the first time that words are entirely optional
To show someone you love them
To be who you are
And we have this kind of embodied love.
I’ve loved getting to know the speechless parts of you:
The Spirit who hovers over the waters
The Breath of God, in and out
The still small sound in the wind
The Mother who knows
The Messiah on trial who doesn’t defend himself
The I Am who Just Is
And invites me to be still and know it.
So God, as I light another candle on another quiet morning,
I just want to say
I’m sorry for thinking you didn’t love me
Didn’t see me, didn’t hear me, didn’t care.
I know now more than ever
That you never left.
That it was because you loved me
That you stopped talking to me in the way you used to.
The silence speaks volumes to me now
And my feet feel the solid ground
Of a God whose goodness
has nothing to do with the English language.
Thank you, God, for another wordless morning.
It’s a sign of a secure relationship, isn’t it?
In fact, it’s my greatest treasure yet:
Silence is another name for God.