November 20, 2019

Make Friends With Silence

By Barry Rudesill

Well, it’s snowing outside as I sit down to write this week and I have to confess something: I really love snow! I love cold, I love winter, I love the pine trees covered in white, and I love Christmas lights! (I also like not having seasonal allergies, but that’s just a bonus!)

For me, walking in the snow is an incredible experience. Why? Because of the silence. If you’ve ever stood in the forest in the middle of a gentle snow, you know what I mean. There are no sounds of birds or animals – they’re too smart to be outside in the cold! All you can hear is the sound of the tiny snowflakes settling to the ground; and for those of you who have never experienced it, snow DOES make a sound! When the snow is thick enough, I love to bundle up warm, go outside, lay down, and just enjoy the silence.

But I have to admit that there is a scary part to this, too.

You see, when I’m running around throughout my day, when I’m dealing with people, answering emails, producing videos, writing curriculum, etc., it’s easy for me to get – and remain – distracted. Even listening to Christmas music, watching Christmas lights, or seeing the dance of the fire in the fireplace can be a distraction, too.

In the middle of the forest, no sounds from the world around me, it’s just me and my thoughts...and sometimes that’s not a comforting thing. In the quiet, my mind starts to bring to my attention ALL of my thoughts – both good and bad – rather than just those that I allow to be there.

I think of the mistakes I’ve made, I think of the people I may have hurt with my words or actions, I think of the things I should have done or could have done. While these aren’t always pleasant to think about, it motivates me to have conversations, to fix what I can, to ask for forgiveness where I need to.

Even more than that, the silence let’s me examine my heart to see if I’m becoming the person I want to be and determine where there is still room for improvement. I can take an honest look, free from distractions, at the thoughts that are running through my head, the self-talk that I’m holding on to.

In “Escape”, we talk about running away from our problems. For me, this is just the opposite. I’m laying aside the distractions so that I can see – really see – what’s inside of me. Silence isn’t protecting me from others, it’s providing me with a safe environment to do a reality check and determine what I need to work on next.

I realize that not all of you can get out into the silence of the woods in wintertime, but all of you can make a “quiet space” to give yourself time to think, space to process. Don’t be afraid of the silence; make friends with it, instead. You may learn a lot if you do.

We hope you enjoy your journey!

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