Art of Silence

Art of Silence

Last Wednesday we had a lovely gathering to listen to scripture and sing a soulful spiritual, receive ashes from last year’s palm leaves as a reminder of from where (and what) we come, and we planted a seed – that we hope will bloom by Holy Week!

Wes made fun of me, he said something like, you know you can go down to local store with a garden center and pick up a bag of potting soil for a couple bucks. But I read all the instructions about how to grow this particular flower – Nasturtium – and it said not to use fertilized soil. Rather, everything I read indicated that poor soil is best. So I took them literally, brought in a bucket of clumpy, bone dry dirt mixed with a bit of mulch.

            So I’m praying these flowers grow because I can’t have Wes holding this over my head!

But we won’t know whether the instructions were correct, or if I happen to know how to get ahold of such terrible soil nothing will grow from it! – until something pushes through the dirt. The soil is silent. So we water it daily, set the cup in a sunny window, speak lovingly to it… Does anyone else do that? Still, silence. Silence is hard. We don’t like it to be quiet for too long. It’s uncomfortable; sometimes painful. When we are in one another’s company it is often a race to see who will fill the space more quickly. We have grown accustomed to finding anything if only we don’t have to be reminded of the silence – because I just might have to think about what is really going on inside.

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By Nicole

Nicole Oliver Snyder’s expertise lies in the areas of leadership, gender issues, and mindfulness practice as it affects both. Leadership, particularly in an urban setting, requires community-relations skills, and an ability to clearly convey justice issues as they relate to felt, spiritual ones. Dr. Snyder is author of Leading Together: Mindfulness and the Gender Neutral Zone, and specializes in teaching mindfulness leadership development, formative spirituality, counseling, and Old Testament theology (emphasis on justice issues). She has a diverse background in international community-relations work combined with volunteer work in multi-ethnic communities, and with local institutions. She is an ordained Clergy; holds a BS in Human Development and Family Studies, w/Education Certificate, an MA-Counseling, MDiv Equiv., holds a Doctor of Ministry and Advanced Certification in Formative Spiritual Direction, and is a Licensed Professional Counselor (MI).