The Sound of Silence

Perhaps if they didn’t say, ‘It’s God plan,’ there would just be an uncomfortable silence. Perhaps that’s why they fill it with words—even if the words crack and splinter, breaking apart in our hands.

How easily the words crumble, revealing they were hollow inside. How often we patch up grief with platitudes.

How often we patch up grief with platitudes.

Real grief is filled with silence, the unspoken, that which cannot be named. Grief is filled with emptiness; it bursts at the seams with it, floods the nighttime hours with it. It is an eerie silence and only the brave enter the inner sanctum of grief’s temple.

Must we fill this sacred space with clutter, with useless words that land with a dull thud between us like dead weight? Must we duck and weave, afraid to feel the true depth of sorrow, afraid to face what grief wants to show us?

Must we duck and weave, afraid to feel the true depth of sorrow?

The hardest part of grief is the waiting. I sit in the silence, waiting for grief to catch up to me like an old friend, waiting for the feelings to surface like inquisitive fish, waiting for the physical reaction to the revelation that someone I love is gone.

I’m waiting for him too. Regardless of what others say about ‘God’s plan’, and regardless of whether God really did plan this or simply let things run their course without intervening, I am waiting for him. Because even if there is no reason and no meaning, he is all I’ve got. So I wait, and I weep, and sometimes words spill out in the flood of emotion. Afterwards, there is silence, and I sit steeped in it.

There is something else in the silence. There is the sense of someone nearby. He does not speak—he knows better than that—but he is there beside me, as if he has always been there and I did not notice it until now. He sits, steeped in the same silence as me. My heart screams and splinters and breaks apart like brittle pottery, and he listens. He is attentive. He is present.

He is there beside me, as if he has always been there and I did not notice until now.

As tears overflow, he is weeping too.

I tell God this is unfair, and he nods, his cheeks wet. I say I am lonely and afraid of the future, and he takes my hand in his. When I run out of words, he wraps his arm around my shoulders like a blanket. He doesn’t answer my questions. He doesn’t have to. His comfort is unmistakable, almost tangible. He is with me in the grief.

God waits for me and weeps with me.

The sound of silence has become golden to me. It is the place where I meet with grief, look it in the eye, and let it speak. It is also the place where God waits for me and weeps with me. He welcomes me in his arms—arms big enough to hold the whole world, arms big enough for my grief.

He is in the silence.

Do you experience God in the silence? How easy or difficult is it for you to sit with grief? When was the last time you let grief surface, slowly, quietly, gently? Share your story. Let’s have a countercultural conversation.

Here is the link to the original World Childless Week article:

2 thoughts on “The Sound of Silence

  1. Thanks Steph, for this blog on sitting with grief…so affirming and true. I believe it takes courage and emotional honesty to sit with our grief and realise that loss and childlessness is not something that is dealt with, done and dusted then padlocked away, never to surface again. Every season of life will be different, and l too think it’s important to give myself permission to grieve these differences when things come up. I am learning (ongoing process) to be okay with this sitting in the struggle and discomfort, which is so counter-cultural to putting on a mask and pretending everything’s okay. You’re amazing, thanks for sharing your journey. Xx

    • Thank you Ros for sharing. You are 100% right, grief is not a one-off process; for many of us, it is ongoing, maybe even lifelong. It’s uncomfortable but honest, and it’s countercultural too; when the world exhorts us to ‘get on with it’, pausing in silence can feel like an extreme sport or an act of rebellion. And it is. But it does us good. May you know God’s nearness in the struggle and discomfort.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *