“Out of the silence…”
My wife and I had the pleasure of attending the wedding of some friends this weekend; the operative word in that statement being “Friends”. It was a Quaker wedding, the first we’d ever been to, and the simple beauty of the whole thing struck a chord.
The Meeting House was practical, even rugged in its construction, and I was taken back to the grange hall and country church my Grandmother’s family rented out for the family reunions I’d attended in my youth. I was overcome by the familiar smell of ancient timber, and the immediate and tangible presence of the Divine.
After we’d gathered, the Clerk stood up and announced that we’d observe a few moments of silence; and that when everyone was ready, the ceremony would evolve out of that silence. Within her words I observed not only a direction for the events that would unfold, but a clear and solid metaphor for the process of creation. What she’d suggested was not the cold, stiff, ceremonial quiet I’d found myself smothered by so many times during my staunch Roman Catholic upbringing, but a wholesome, pregnant stillness, charged with immeasurable possibility.
After a few minutes, the couple rose, exchanged their vows, and signed the wedding contract. When this was finished, the silence returned until all those who wished to speak had done so. Then, with a simple handshake, it was over.
When we find ourselves buried by the onslaught of activity that threatens to consume our every waking moment, and everything seems to hit us faster and faster, it’s important to remember to stop and catch our breath, to listen for the stillness behind everything, and to let our actions evolve out of the silence. ..