Words have been clamoring too much and often these days.
A tangled mess of lies, fears, standards, self-seeking, life-ebbing words.
Too many and too few.
Too few of the weighty words. The words that have meaning.
Too little silence to digest the words I need.
Reminding me I will ever be dying to words. My words and all the cheap and flimsy that have overtaken our world.
Wanting perspective I knew it would bring,
I picked up my faithful Henri Nouwen Reader
and took in his thoughts regarding “Words and Silence”.
(for anyone coming from thehighcalling.org , this first paragraph especially speaks to technology overload…words in so many directions)
Here is a sampling:
“Words…have lost their creative power. Their limitless multiplication has made us lose confidence in words and caused us to think more often than not, ‘They are just words.’ The word no longer communicates, no longer fosters communion, no longer creates community, and therefore no longer gives life.
“Silence is the home of the word. Silence gives strength and fruitfulness to the word. We can even say that words are meant to disclose the mystery of the silence from which they come.
(of the Desert Fathers) “ …the word is the instrument of the present world and silence is the mystery of the future world. If a word is to bear fruit, it must be spoken from the future world into the present world.
“Out of eternal silence God spoke the Word, and through this Word created and recreated the world. In the beginning God spoke the land, the sea and the sky…finally, God spoke man and woman. Then, in the fullness of time, God’s Word, through whom all had been created, became flesh and gave power to all who believe to become the children of God. In all this, the word of God does not break the silence of God, but rather unfolds the immeasurable richness of that silence…”
The Way of the Heart p. 57-59 of the Reader
How often have my own words been ‘just words’?
They’ve fallen far short of the redemptive power of the One True Word. They have come out of much noisy striving and not the silence. His glorious, rich silence.
Many years ago, with full dreams and mighty plans words were life. My words. The life I wanted to live. Though full of the right things and the courage to speak them, I believed that it would be my words that would change others…that made me, me. I crafted and painted and etched and spent myself giving life to these words. I believed I had a heart big enough to pour out through them.
To change the world.
Then the world I believed would come to be…evaporated. The love I poured into the dreams I held dear manifested in the words shared was taken away forever.
My words had failed.
I left my disintegrated dreams and saw the end of the power of my words. My heart was raw and knew a pain deeper…
I put one foot in front of the other and my words dried up. I now realize I was being brought through the painful process of dying to words. my words. all the words that pass away.
And in another realm, the words I continued to pour into prayers for those I loved…for the healing of a most beloved mother even before that great, vast, horrid thing called cancer came…were not answered as my heart believed and my prayerful words pleaded.
Their pouring out was followed by the wasting away of a life, and the letting go of the last hold I had on words that could change.
Then followed a dying…an eight and a half year silence where words would not meet pen and paper or form page along with the joy they once brought in their making, forming, and crafting.
I sought to live the words I once said. I refused to write what I knew would not change. I asked for something new. The silence was at work.
There were stirrings. Words designed to show me a heart I couldn’t understand—they eked out slowly…spurts of something…glimmers of what comes after dying to words. The kingdom of words, my words and the meaningless ones that roam, a shambles…making room for the Kingdom of the The One True Word.
I’m still crippled and I falter as I seek to pour out an offering of words that center upon that Eternal Word.
But, by His Grace…I’ve learned to die.
Die to my words—seeing how impotent they are without the breath, the Glory, the Great Mystery of He who spoke out of eternal Silence. And continues to speak the only life ever known…before all time began, til now, and for all time to come and this moment’s too.
It is with a commitment to dying…dying daily, even moment by moment, with each word penned, prayed, pondered, perceived or projected that I walk this way of the Word.
Living the Word is impossible unless I know it. I have to write it on my heart and ask that this perfect, beautiful, infallible Word would penetrate all of the polluted layers that come from living in this world of the fake, flimsy and fallible that fade.
So in this spirit I join Ann and the like-minded and hearted at Holy Experience in Memorizing More, Much, Multiplying the Word Manifold in all that is this way we walk.
His Word I’ve written upon my heart and type in memory…that speak to dying to my words and all that is me and my heart and soul are thirsty for many more to be written upon it:
“In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” John 1:1 (I’m going to start memorizing all of this!)
“For me to live is Christ, to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21
“I have been crucified with Christ, it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. The life I live I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20
“But when the time had fully come, God sent His Son born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law that we might receive the full rights of sons.” Galatians 4:6-7
“Those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. The mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God for it does not submit to God’s law indeed it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” Romans 8: 5-8
Currently memorizing…writing on my heart:
Psalms 37 (have v.1-7 so far!)