This past week, I sat in complete silence in my office and just reveled in the nothingness that was going on around me. The building was empty, the phones were still, there was nothing but the sweetness of silence. I knew in a few minutes, the lights would automatically come on, employees and students would arrive and my solitude would slip away. It was in those quiet moments I reflected on the phrase, “Silence is Golden.”
Silence provides an alluring splendor to life; it provides an incomparable beauty when cherished. Several years ago, a colleague invited me to attend a spiritual retreat over a long weekend. Intermingled with meetings, I had opportunity to slip away and be alone and to cherish many moments of silence. The outdoors, the cool fall air, the beautiful lake, the wind whistling through the trees; all were soul refreshing. I resonated with the psalmist who wrote, “For God alone, my soul waits in silence.” Psalm 62:1. It was in the silence that I was able to open my innermost being to the presence of God. It was in the quietude of nature that I was able to reset and recharge.
At Southwestern Adventist University, we cannot, nor should we eliminate the normal noise of attending classes, conducting science experiments, socializing, worshipping together, etc. However, we are intentional about providing opportunity for our students to rest and be silent. Recently we chose “Pause” as our spiritual theme for a year. We continue to teach our students and remind ourselves of the importance of carving out time for quiet reflection so we can hear God speak. Our Spiritual Life team encourages our students to take electronic breaks from social media, using that break time to tune in to the Lifegiver. During our recent Week of Prayer, moments were provided for all of us to individually connect with God as part of the worship experience. Our Women’s Ministry team has organized several “hammocking events” under the trees in a quiet part of campus and next weekend the students will be invited to a local nature preserve in search of a peaceful time with God.
This has been a challenging year for all of us with the effects of COVID-19, social injustices and elections, just to name a few. Though dealing and responding to these important matters are critical, they should not overwhelm us. One of our residence hall deans provides great advice to students with anxiety. “Take a cup of chamomile tea, surround yourself with a soft blanket and let the quietness of God’s presence calm your fears.” There is something very powerful in silence. Psalm 46:10 puts it this way, “Be still and know that I am God.” This is a nice reminder for me to regularly pause and meditate on who God is and be thankful for His many blessings.
Silence is indeed golden!