Monday, July 9, 2012

why is silence scary?

So, I've been writing here about hands and eyes and surrender and such ... and honestly, I'm not finished yet, so perhaps you'll dig a little deeper with me?

I've been wanting to read a book called With Open Hands by Henri Nouwen for about a month now.  Almost bought it on my kindle, but purchased crafting paper instead with spending money.  Looked for it in the library at home, to no avail.  Searched a few bookstores with the same result.  So, you'll understand the sweet blessing I received yesterday with hungry hands over the desk when I found it at my mom's church library.  And I love it already!  So full of depth, like this one:

"It makes you wonder if the diversion we look for in the many things outside us might not be an attempt to avoid a confrontation with what is inside ... To be calm and quiet by yourself ... requires the discipline to recognize the urge to get up and go again as a temptation to look elsewhere for what is close at hand.  It offers the freedom to stroll in your own inner yard and rake up the leaves and clear the paths so you can easily find the way to your heart."

And how many times have I interrupted the quiet just as it begins because I'm afraid of what I might find in my heart?  Scared of what God might show me in the darkness if I let Him into that place?  It's easy to do ... one of the many perils of fear.

What do I know of fear?  The same thing Eve knew, and Sarah, and Rebekah - "When in fear, clutch tightly to control."  And too many times I've been pushed and shoved to clench these hands around control I could never grasp.  Deceived, though, I remained tight-fisted around an empty lie.  

So when the Spirit leads me through a season of lessons on what my hands do, how can I turn away from Him?   What my hands do in silent meditation, quiet contemplation, gentle stillness must be to open.  Releasing that control I never owned, letting go of fear with it.  And today I'm not afraid of the kind of silence that allows Him access to my yard, and even to the home of my deepest, most vulnerable rooms and closets.

Also in the book, Nouwen writes a story of an elderly woman who clutched so tightly to what she thought was most treasured, a single coin, that it took two attendants to pry open her hand and take it from her (and what I want to ask is, why not let her keep it until she was ready to surrender it?).  She fought and squeezed to retain the worthless, and how many times have I wasted breaths and heartbeats doing the same, when all God ever wanted was ... open hands.

But sometimes it takes more muscles to release.  Or maybe the grasping, taking muscles have gotten strong and the opening muscles have atrophied from such un-use.   

"Please listen to my prayer
    and my cry for help,
    as I lift my hands
    toward your holy temple."

             -Psalm 28:2 (CEV)

As we sit as His feet in silence, may we be readied to open hands, release an idolatrous facade of control, and allow Him into our hearts in order that fear may be blown out of our hands like dust in the wind.  His perfect love will cast out fear, and we will let go.  

Lord, let it be so in me today.  I give you these open hands, turned to You.  If there is something there that does not belong, please take it from me.  I'm not afraid of what You might blow away as chaff.  I'm not afraid of You.  If you would like to put something there, I desire to receive it.  I want whatever  You'd like to give me.  I trust You, I face You, I open to You again today.  In the quiet I choose to release any fear of what might be.  In the adventure silence with You, I want You to have Your way. I surrender

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