Kara Nothnagel
Simple Authentic Living
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Simple. Authentic. Grace.

BRAVING THE SILENCE

Hi Friends, Below you will find a post that I wrote for Church of the Nations. It was prompted by our students going on something we used to call 'Poverty Week', but have renamed Solitude Week. Basically the students spend a week in the bush, with basic food, clothing and shelter. All that they have on them is a water bottle and a bible, pen and paper. They spend time in solitude on the face of a mountain from sun rise and sun set and in that time their only company is God and their own mind. Some of the questions I posed are still of interest to me today and still perplexing to so many. That is why I have decided to repost my thoughts here, in the hopes that you too would be inspired to brave the silence in your own life.

 

Recently the Victory Gap Year students embarked on 'Poverty Week'. This week acts as an opportunity for the students to get away from the busyness of every day life and learn what it means when the Word of God says, "Blessed are the poor in spirit". Over the course of the week the students spent days doing... Nothing. Just... Being. Now to most of us that may sound like total bliss, especially as most of us live life at a pace that borders on unhealthily fast. But doing nothing, just being, is an art. As I talked with the students after their week I was struck but not surprised by the overriding theme of their responses. Each of them found that amidst the quiet and solitude of the South African veld, they still encountered a roar of noise. Not that of music, and cars and people. No. For the first time they heard the volume of their own thoughts.

I think David Levithan captured this perfectly when he said, "it is not our silence that is deafening, but all the words underneath it, yelled in our heads."

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It is incredible to me that the idea of doing nothing and the experience of doing nothing are so different in terms of level of ease, comfort and achievability. In the West we are not used to being quiet, we do not practice "getting quiet". In fact, if most of us are honest, we fear the quiet. And stillness is a foreign, abstract idea. You see stillness is not the absence of movement... Quiet is not the absence of sound. To still and quiet ones soul is a journey for the brave because it means that each of us have to face the resounding jungle of words, thoughts and voices that line the path along the way.

Mama Maggie Gorbin so aptly put it when she said, "There are secrets in silence".

When was the last time you 'got still'? Do you even know how? How do you react to the idea of taking the brave adventure through the crescendo of words, towards silence? You never know, you may just find a treasure trove of secrets you never knew existed; and more than that you may well discover the person who holds them.

Thanks for stopping by, K x