Monday, October 10, 2011


The great unknown is full of hidden treasures. The tricky thing is you have to venture deeper--uncomfortably farther--in if you want to claim them as your own.

Once I faced this reality, and knew I'd be living here for awhile, I decided to lighten my load--empty out my pack--so I can last here for the long haul.

One of the first things that had to go was the Noise. Even though we'd grown accustomed to being together, I knew I couldn't travel with it anymore.

To my surprise, as soon as I kicked it out, something else showed up in its place.

At first it was a relief to have another traveling companion. The Noise had been taking up so much space that my pack felt EMPTY without it. I was thankful for the Silence.

When the Noise was around, the air was always filled with energy. It was a frantic energy, but it kept me busy--preoccupied--nonetheless.

The Silence has its own kind of energy. It's foreign to me and it takes some getting used to.

It didn't take long for me to grow uncomfortable with the Silence. I started to crave my old "friend" again. I needed something familiar in this totally new terrain. I started fantasizing about the Noise.

Even though I wasn't carrying it with me, the Noise knew me well enough to stay close by. Sensing when I was the weakest, the Noise would press up against me--trying to block my path--and taunt: "Are you bored yet? It's much more exciting with me around. Just let me in for a few minutes. You'll see, it'll be like old times..."

And the Silence would wait. I would feel its piercing gaze as it gently whispered: "It's your call. But it's the Noise or me. You can't have both. You have to choose."

When I first landed, I was easily swayed by the Noise--I'd shrug my shoulders and reassure myself: "Just a little bit of Noise won't hurt. I mean it's just so quiet here without it."

But it didn't take long to see that the Noise always brings its friends with it: Frenzy, Anxiety, Panic and Fear. It's a big party until they show up.

I'm happy to say it's been awhile since I've invited them back in. The Silence has been with me for a good, long stretch. It's teaching me things that I simply couldn't hear when the Noise was around.

The Noise never let me get in word edge-wise, and all the Silence does is listen. Most of the time as we travel along we are each happy saying nothing.

As our relationship has deepened, I'm talking more. I'm asking questions. It doesn't always answer right back--it's not not the way of The Silence--but just at the right time, it'll look me in the eyes and share something I've been longing to hear.

The Silence also has its own set of friends: Sadness, Pain, Hope and Peace. I've met them all before, but the Noise was boisterous and bullying when they were around, feeling threatened by their presence. "We don't need them," it'd convince me, "we're doing just fine on our own."

The Silence is gentle. Unlike the Noise, it has nothing to prove. It is patient and polite. It always asks for permission before it lets its friends in: "Sadness wants to come for a visit... Would that be alright?"

I'm learning to trust the Silence. And that means trusting what shows up with it. I don't look forward to the visits from Pain, but when the Silence asks to let it in, I know I'll be okay.

And if it weren't for the Silence, I'd have never known what it's like to travel this distance with Peace on my back.

The great unknown is full of hidden treasure. I'm traveling deeper--uncomfortably farther--in to claim them as my own.


  1. Angela, I love you. The other day I was listening to Imagine Me and all I could think about was you. Imagine Angie. The tapestry of your life is so rich with color and as I was reading your post I began to think how the rich, deep colors seem to come in the hues of sadness, pain, hope and peace. Doug and I have been spending a lot of time considering Philippians and how Paul while in chains spoke of joy. So... my thinking presently is that it is probably the tears in the tapestry of our lives that are portals through which we see God in ways otherwise hidden to us. How else can we experience joy while in chains? Paul had eyes to see deeper. As does Angie.

  2. Val, I want to bottle up your words and sip, sip, sip until they get deep down in me. Truly. Thank you.

  3. It's so weird how I can relate to this. Living at home with my family is so noisy, but alone I ended up spending every moment on the phone with them.

  4. Jenny, I get it. It's why I wrote this post. I had to remind myself that the Silence is a gift. It whispers things to me that I can't hear from anywhere else.