Reflection on 40 Days with Wesley by Rueben Job
Day 29: Silence
In the reflection, Job says: We are given signs and songs even in the darkest night, signs and songs that assure of the presence of the only One who can shatter our silence.
Have you ever experienced literal or figurative isolation in the midst of total darkness and deafening silence? I have. When I was in my late 20’s, I lived in East KY, at the end of the holler, surrounded by the Daniel Boon National Forest. It was a beautiful fall day. When I got home from work, I took my puppy for a walk in the woods. I hiked a path I had not been on since spring and when I got close to the ridge, I wandered off the path to hike up to top of the ridge. Seeing a familiar path below, I hiked down to it and looked for a path back to the house, expecting to return well before sunset. I knew where I was, but I could not find the path I was looking for that would lead me home. I had no idea that the path had become so overgrown over the summer that I could not recognize it. It got dark, really, really dark, so I had no choice but to stop walking. I sat down and tried to use branches to cover up and stay warm.
Thinking about this story reminded me of Pastor Marcus’s Ash Wednesday message. Pastor Marcus talked about how one might live life differently if one wore a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate Order) bracelet at all times, as a reminder of your mortality. How might this change how one leads one’s life? How might it change our priorities? Trust me. When I was surrounded by silence and darkness, lost in the woods, wondering if I could stay warm enough to survive the night, I had plenty of time to think about who and what was really important in my life. I prayed without ceasing. I knew that if I lived, I would make changes in my life to align with my priorities. I knew my life would not be the same. To this day, I cannot hike in the woods on a path that is not well marked without experiencing palpable anxiety. But it was no like that that evening. I was sacred; I knew that I could not control if I lived or died. I knew I wanted to live. Remarkably, I did not panic; because in the darkness and silence, I was not totally alone. I had my puppy who was also my heater. And, I had assurance of God’s presence. It still feels a little strange to say, but I was a peace. I sat there for hours before I was rescued. And, I was not panicked. I did not know if I would live, but I did know God was with me and I recommitted myself to God. God’s grace was enough to penetrate the deafening silence.
What about you? What is your experience with darkness and silence? What stories came to mind as you read the devotion for today?