Sound of Silence, Stillness in Motion

Today’s post is by Ernest Yau

A simple phrase, “Just a moment,” is an invitation to stand on holy ground. Intermissions, such as a mesmerized father holding his newborn for the first time or a grieving daughter gazing at her mother for the last, call us to not rush but hush. The curtain of life rises in one and falls in the other, as the soul beckons a moment of pregnant silence and poignant stillness right in the middle of a significant passage. Though not as dramatic, praying is everyday kneading of sacred pauses in our hearts.

The life of prayer evolves in spiritual journey. The morning rhythm of a block of silence and solitude becomes trickles of prayer throughout the day. Like switching from landline to mobile phone, the soul roams freely with God, quietude and solitude on the go, fluidly and organically moving through people, events and locations. In the Missionaries of Charity homes for the poor in the Third World, intermittent prayers are further mined and refined. In the absence of social media and television and with local language as unintelligible sound, accessing God’s presence is easier and simpler. Words of Mother Teresa hearken: “God speaks in the silence of the heart, and we listen. And then we speak to God from the fullness of our heart and God listens.” Silent stillness follows me into dining room, courtyard, veranda, sleeping quarter, kitchen, rooftop, and even beyond the gate, neighborhood, city, country.

Prayer is for the sake of the world. Interlaced with listening to God is speaking to him in gratitude and intercession. I give thanks for the heartwarming kindness: A more functioning man gently wipes the smear of a gravely impaired, patiently puts on a new diaper, and graciously covers the fragile body with blankets against the morning cool. Unpretentious. Fully present. I am deeply touched by this slice of heaven on earth. I ask for mercy in the gut-wrenching and memory-etching scene: The double-amputated man navigates his body, wrecked and wretched, lowly and wormy, on the floor to the toilet that is merely a hole in the ground. I ache viscerally witnessing this sliver of hell on earth. Praying what I see, hear and touch in the moment is infused with immediacy, spontaneity and intimacy. Sprinkled with holy pauses, I realize at the end of the day I have been less forgetful of God. Like a diver, I remain in the deep sea of God’s love longer, breathing the one breath.

After a Bolshoi Ballet performance streamed live from Moscow, I sat in the movie theatre lobby in silence and stillness. A young father deliciously watched his toddler zigzag playfully around the queue line posts. I smiled in gratitude for the gift of “just a moment,” imagining him sweeping and lifting up his son in mutual delight. It would be a lovely pas de deux. Sublime. Even divine.

February 02, 2019 by Ernest Yau 1 Comment
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Roy Hoagland
Roy Hoagland
5 years ago

Very much appreciated this posting. Thanks.


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