I’ve been seeking more silence in my life for several years. It started with the desire to build more time for prayer. Prayer for me had to start with having some time everyday without radio, TV, iPad, iPhone or conversation. There was a place I needed to go within myself that I had been avoiding with external stimulus. When I was single and lived alone I had peace and time for reflection, even with a job that included travel. Then my heart opened up to a man who would become my partner in life and suddenly 20 years passed and I was blessed with 4 children and a happy marriage. Somehow the peace had left me and was replaced by tasks that never ended. I became anxious and lost sight of the unique person God had created me to be.
The road to healing began when I decided to go back to school, working toward an MA in Pastoral Studies. I was answering a call I had for many years, but had ignored. It felt good to go down this path, even though I had no idea where I would end up. When my second child started college I went back to work at my local parish (St. Mark) as Parish Secretary to help provide college tuition for both my children and myself. Now I had more tasks (working, studying and homemaking) and silence was again elusive.
After completing my degree I was promoted to Director of Religious Education for Adult Faith Formation at St. Mark. I was now ministering to the adults in my faith community to help in their faith formation. It became clear to me that silence was something that I had to intentionally create for myself to have a good personal prayer life. I started one Lent by keeping the radio off in the car, then I created a prayer space at home, next I began taking annual weeklong silent retreats. The more
silence I created for myself the closer I got to God.
But the taskmaster took over again recently and I found myself being too busy for prayer. What? How could this be - it made no sense to be in ministry without a daily prayer life. That’s when I was stopped in my tracks. I began to suffer from a rapid heartbeat, which kept me home from work. The doctor is trying different medical procedures to get my heart back in a normal sinus rhythm, but I have been forced to slow down and just in time for Advent! I see this medical challenge as an opportunity for more prayer and silence to help me prepare for Jesus coming at Christmas. So, everyday I wake up with morning prayer later I read the Mass readings and ponder this word of God. I take time in the day for intercessory prayer and meditation and end the day with evening prayer. I’m praying that the silence and stillness lead me closer to God’s love.