I am a writer.
But so often, words fail me.
And I recognize, over and over again, I am not equipped for the silence.
I wrote a quote across the chalkboard a week ago. It ended with these words, “And above all: may silence make you strong.” The last words took my breath away. May silence make you strong. I clung to those words, stared at them written in my handwriting, stark white against the black chalkboard.
My confession in this silence of this apartment is this: I do not find that the silence makes me strong. I prefer my words, and I prefer to hold them tight to me because they are what I know.
I do not know silence.
I do not know the unknown of the absence of words.
I can whisper you hope through the letters on this screen. I could paint you a picture of the beauty found in that breath, the one that you are holding before you jump into the abyss. I can describe to you the traces of God’s glory I find in the drop of water, or the sensation of life that comes from the feeling of sustaining breath coursing through my lungs.
But that silence? The one where my words are absent, or when they cannot convey to you what I am feeling? Or when my heart hurts too desperately that I don’t even know what to pray, but all I can do is offer Him my silence?
I don’t get it. I fear it. It scares me when words are not enough. It frightens me when things are not explainable in words –
but I am wondering if the absence of words is, in some way, the beauty and mystery of this life. That to climb into that moment of silence, the one that is terrifying, that in absence of words reveals a part of my heart that cannot be described: that, that is strength.
Maybe strength is to be infinitely known in the presence and absence of words. To offer someone the gift of silence, because it is far rarer and mysterious than words ever will be.
To offer myself the gift of silence. Words will never be enough. They will never be what they are without their counterpart: silence.
So tonight, I leave you with another’s words, far greater than my own, to wrestle with, to make peace with:
— above all.
may silence make you strong.