The silence prepares the imagination to receive an incredible truth.
Eugene Peterson, Reversed Thunder.
Ten months since the viva. Ten months of mostly silence. And more preparing than receiving.
The incredible truth has yet to be given.
Don’t misunderstand. There have been great joys. The red gown and prophesying of the thing burning to be named. The celebration which my sister gave as gift. Firewriting outside the centuries-old cottage, conversation until we no longer saw one another’s faces, until words gave way to liquid prayer. New friendships and church community. Recognition, almost aghast, that people wanted to hear the trust I have been given, were inspired by it even. Much progress made too. Two additional courses written and delivered. First ever conference paper, followed by invitation to publish it. Another invitation to give a paper, multiple invitations to preach and lead and speak.
Joy and progress, yet a lot of silence too. Sleeping. A bone-weariness so deep that I have wondered whether I might ever feel not-tired again. Sadness in rejection by more than one friend. A prayer life stuttering, Bible unread, summerhouse unvisited. And almost no blogging. For words did not well up.
In July, that was all he was saying. Silence. August, too.
And it made sense of the seven and eight months before that. For God has been silent. And I have been, mostly, quiet. Because when heaven is silent, what is to be said? It is a time for listening. Listening to the silence. To the prayers which leak out into that silence, prayers I didn’t know I prayed.
There were people who wanted me to speak in that season. More than one. They wanted me to assume new mantle, an authority which I know is yet more potential than actual. We argued over it, a gentle back-and-forth, without rancour. I almost felt sorry for each one. For none of them was going to win, each one taken aback, I know, by the clarity of my discerned call. But how else could it be? First silence, then voice.
Perhaps even never voice. For though companions listen for the voice of the one who dwells in the gardens, it is his alone to hear and his alone to direct. Before God soul may in fact become silence, so the Psalmist says.
But he knew something I don’t. Yet. For after ten months, my soul is perhaps only mostly silence.
And the incredible truth has yet to be given.
Yet it comes. Surely it comes, and now to imagination prepared.