The eve of All Saints’ Day was magical, in a good way. For one, it had been raining, right up to about the 6 p.m. start of the trick-or-treating. [Ohio has townships, a subdivision of counties. The township suggests (or is it a law? I don’t know) that trick-or-treating should take place between 6 and 8 p.m.] I had been doubtful as to whether we should even bother giving out candy. Suddenly at about 5:50 p.m. or so, the rain stopped.
My husband helped by putting out a little firepit at the end of the driveway, which is a custom for many in our neighborhood. The homeowners sit by the firepit while giving out candy, and they may have a party themselves.
I wrote the following after it was all over.
It’s quiet now. The clowns and freaks, saints and sinners, ghosts and ghouls are gone. I stand in the driveway, on the darkened and empty street, wondering what it all means. The silence after all the childish shrieks. The candy bowls empty. How did I come to be in this crazy world?
We talked with neighbors whom we don’t often see. One came over on his own, and when we got short of candy, he gave us some of his own. I went over to another neighbor after we had run out of candy again, just to say hi. I found out that the husband is related to a political candidate. When these neighbors learned that we had run out of candy, they gave us some of theirs.
Sitting with my husband by a firepit, we ate pizza and drank seltzer water between candy giveaways. A citizen patrol car drove by twice. The sounds of laughter in the neighborhood were comforting.
Shortly before 8 p.m., our neighbor to the right yelled, “Have a good night; we’re calling it quits.” Somehow I got to asking him what he did for a living, and he explained. Here was another neighbor whom we hardly ever talk with.
So quiet and silent now. The voices are gone. The air is still. The weather is mild tonight. We are blessed to be alive.
You woo me in the quiet places;
It’s there you fill me with Your graces.
I long for silence, to still the voices
That tempt me onto errant courses.
The noise of living makes me weary
(Though noise of loved ones can be cheery!).
The “noise” of nature, by contrast,
Brings calm and peace, or makes us wary.
When list’ning for Your mighty plan,
I calmly sit, or kneel, or stand,
Or even on a quiet walk –
By grace, or chance, I’ll hear You talk.
Grant me, O Lord, that blesséd grace –
No matter what the time or place –
In noise or quiet, at work or rest,
By Your sweet voice to then be blessed.
Thank you, God,
For the quiet of early August.
The quiet streets,
The quiet mornings;
School’s not yet started.
The quiet neighborhoods —
People gone to their cabins at Tahoe,
Or on road trips, or plane trips:
Gone to weddings (or funerals) —
Gone to see relatives.
Thank you for the cool morning air,
All the better with the silence.
But birds do sing and twitter;
I hear airplanes in the sky,
And a mother’s lullaby.
Sometimes the earth has peace,
You can drink up the silence,
You can remember childhood days
Of endless summer,
And let today be your gratitude.
I never liked the noise —
People squabbling, arguing, bickering.
Strong opinions — who was right?
So self-righteous; and not so humble.
Wouldn’t admit their own fragility —
For me, no unconditional stability.
Too many voices
Say what they think —
My life’s on the brink —
It’s hard to think.
Anyway, just have your way.
You’re always right —
Ain’t that the way?
There’s too much noise,
I have to say.
I’d rather sit in the silence
Listening for God to speak.
On first sight,
Like little children,
With eyes agog and mouths agape —
Paralyzed in awe and wonder
Ancient, ancient rocks
Tell God’s secrets
The streets silent and still.
Families away: spring holiday –
Or is it a resurrection?
No shouting voices,
Nor school buses.
No parents patiently waiting
For school to get out.
I meet more people
Out for walks.
Take the time
To smell the flowers.
Are the flowers
And the silent hours.
I seek in the silence
A word from You,
The key to my existence.
There are no voices around me.
I try to listen …
I beat against the doors
Of Your heart —
Will You let me in?
Or perhaps it’s the other way —
Will I let You in?
I seek for Your answer,
I wait for Your voice,
I hope for Your love.
I struggle and strain
To find You, to know You;
It will not be in vain.
Help me understand.
I didn’t know
What my words might do to you.
I’m in a fantasy land;
What my actions do to you.
Am I bereft
How did I know
What I could do,
Since silent were those
Who’d tell me true?
What does the silence mean?
It can be peaceful and serene.
It can be tense, it can be mean.
Let our silence be a calm,
A healing balm,
A space that will give birth to song.
“Come walk with me”, the Savior said
“Leave earthly cares behind
Leave all that comes twixt you and me
The sin and worry bind”
His heart was aching with such pain
He saw men struggle, strive in vain
When in His hand He held all things
The peace, the joy, that His love brings
He said, “You must the silence keep
The quietness, the inner deep
Close every door and go inside
To you My love I will confide”
“Each day go to the inner door
And listen as I speak, and more.
My inner peace I will impart
And make a fountain in your heart”
All men will one day bow the knee
To Him who hung upon a tree
‘Till then let us be well content
In silence, a true sacrament
IN THE SILENCE
Rushing, roaring water
Speaks to me of
wild and free
Cool, quiet woods –
Only the birds and insects speak,
And their incessant hum
Is a calming song
Waves of warm air
Billow like a curtain
Waiting for the sunset
To let in the coolness
Watch what you say –
This is a holy place
Where God meets man
In the silence