I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what it means to remain silent, in such a time as this.
Children should be seen and not heard.
Silence is golden.
If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
We heard those messages loud and clear, many of us, for the whole of our childhoods. They found their echo in our adult relationships, and shaped our public interactions. No surprise, then, that some of us are biting our tongues until they bleed these days, and struggling mightily to hold ourselves in check.
I’m all about honesty, and a gracious kindness. I know firsthand the power of a “good word,” softly spoken. I’ll always believe “a soft answer turns away wrath,” and that actions speak louder than words. But good God a’mighty, enough with all this shushing! When the world has taken such a dramatic turn toward the dark…it’s a pearl of great price, this outwardly imposed silence.
A layer of fog rolled in from the ocean a few days ago, blanketing the backyard bistro table where I was contemplating this very thing. I thought about Queen Esther, who rose to power and lifted her people out of danger. Not by virtue of her position, but by speaking her truth. And in that clarifying moment, I recalled a familiar scripture:
“Peace, be still.”
Mind you, I’ve heard (and recited) that Bible verse many times before. It speaks to my soul, affirming the things I know to be true. It’s a call to a higher purpose, seems to me, for such a time as this:
Tune out the noisy distractions.
Quiet your inner chatter.
Be the peace you want to see in the world.
Be still, and know.
Even so, I heard something new that day–or maybe I understood that Scripture on an even deeper level. It’s a calming voice amidst the churning, yes, but it can also be interpreted as a gentle rebuke of those who would oppress us:
Peace, be still!
We are blessed and a blessing, all of us. Our light is meant to be shared. We are truth-seekers and storytellers, and we will not be muzzled.