Group Dynamics, Small Groups, Community Building

Deep Thoughts About Silence
By a student of Henri Nouwen*

Silence is night
   and just as there are nights
      with no moon and no stars
when you’re all alone
   totally alone
       when you’re cursed
when you become a nothing
   which no one needs—
So there are silences which are threatening
   because there is nothing except
      the silence.

Even if you open your ears and your eyes
   it keeps going on without hope or relief.

Night with no light, no hope
   I am alone in my guilt
      without forgiveness, without love.

Then, desperately, I go looking for friends
   then I walk the streets – a body, a sign, a sound
         for nothing.

But there are also night with stars
   with a full moon
      with the light from a house in the distance
         and silences which are peaceful and reflective.

The noise of a sparrow in a large empty church
   when my heart wants to sing out with joy
      when I feel that I’m not alone
         when I’m expecting friends
or remember a couple words
   from a poem I read lately
      when I lose myself in a Hail Mary
or the somber voice of a psalm
   when I am me and you are you
      when we aren’t afraid of each other
         when we leave all talk to the angel
who brought us the silence and peace.

*From the book: With Open Hands by Henri Nouwen

This book is about the silence that most people today
do not experience and gives a Christian perspective
of being quiet and knowing God.

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