January 29, 2014

Seeking Silence by Ruth L. Snyder

We live in a hectic, sometimes frenetic, and usually noisy, world. I don't know about you, but I find it a challenge to slice out quiet, thoughtful times in my day. It's easy to allow phone calls, e-mail, Facebook, and other people to drive our agenda. None of these things are wrong. In fact, most of them are necessary. The problem comes when we go rushing through life so fast that we don't even have time to think about what's truly important to us. The urgent claims our attention and priorities fall by the wayside.

"These things will destroy the human race: politics without principle, progress without compassion, wealth without work, learning without silence, religion without fearlessness and worship without awareness." - Anthony de Mello

As a Christian, I find it necessary to guard my silent or quiet times. I'm a morning person, so getting up at 5:30 works best for me. In those quiet, pre-dawn hours I have the opportunity to sit in silence. Notice I said "opportunity." Even then, I have to consciously choose silence. It's very easy to start answering e-mails or reading updates on Facebook and get distracted from spending quiet time with my Creator and Saviour. I have to commit to reading Scripture, to presenting myself and my day to Jesus and asking for His guidance, strength, and wisdom. I have to force myself to be quiet, to be still, to listen. I've found it helps to have my planner and a notebook beside me. Often thoughts flit from one thing to another - I need to phone this person, I have to buy some yogurt for lunches, etc. If I write those thoughts down, it clears my mind and allows me to focus.

"Silence is the element in which great things fashion themselves together." -Thomas Carlyle

As a writer, I also need to cultivate silence. I have five young children and a husband and the responsibilities they bring. My writing time used to be late at night when everyone was in bed. Now it is early in the morning or when my husband's at work and my children are at school. Writing is work that is best done in solitude and silence. Writers need time to think, time to organize their thoughts, time to consider whether something is best said or left unsaid.

"And they write innumerable books; being too vain and distracted for silence: seeking everyone after his own elevation, and dodging his emptiness" - T.S. Elliot

What about you? How do you seek silence and maintain godly priorities in your life?

Ruth L. Snyder lives in northeastern Alberta with her husband and five young children. She enjoys writing about her walk with God, adoption, and special needs. Her novella, Cecile's Christmas Miracle, is available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.



  1. I have to admit that I don't often seek silence and when I'm alone I almost always have music playing. Worship CD's help keep me in touch with God. The words obviously penned from writers like ourselves.

    Thought provoking for sure Ruth.
    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Vickie, thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I enjoy worship music too - in fact I usually put it on every morning while I'm making breakfast. As with everything, we need balance :)

  3. Ruth,
    We are kindred spirits. I used to just go about my day- up and at'em. No time to think, ponder and pray. But in 2001, Jesus changed all that.
    Now i too get up early. My testimony of how He got me up early is pretty funny but serious at the same time. I need that early morning time to connect with him and gather strength for the day.
    Blessings to you and your family,
    Janis www.janiscox.com

  4. Thanks, Janis. I agree. I think we're kindred spirits in more ways than one :) I'd love to hear/read your testimony. Maybe someday we can meet face to face and enjoy a chat.

  5. I can't help but think how the current generation is constantly 'tuned in' to some kind of noise. When I ask (TELL) students to remove their earbuds once class starts, for isntance, they act like they are lost without that constant sound in their ears. maybe their brains really are trained differently... In any case, I find that I write best to silence, while I enjoy painting or other creative pursuits best if there is music. As for getting up early, I'm an early-bird wanna-be, but i just can't shake the night owl syndrome.... I guess after 50 years its hard to shake!

  6. Tracy, I think their brains are wired differently, but they also benefit if we can teach them to appreciate silence. That's interesting that you like music on when you paint, but not when you write. It's a good thing we're all unique :)

  7. I too am an early bird and enjoy the morning silence. Sometimes I feel like my day is ruined if someone is up before me--hahaha. It's because I like to sit in silence with God and His Word and my coffee before I interact with other human beings. Having an empty-nest home allows me this time which I never used to have. There are definite seasons to life and right now I am enjoying this one.

  8. Connie, I identify with your comment about feeling like your day is ruined if someone is up before you! One of my sons wakes up early, so sometimes he "intrudes" on my early morning silence. I've had to adjust my expectations and remind myself that sometimes he needs that special one-on-one time with me. As they say, "This too shall pass." And then I'll be wishing he was scrunching into the seat beside me :)

  9. Loved this post, Ruth. I remember when we returned from Papua New Guinea in the middle of winter and I stepped outside into a country stillness one morning, I realized I'd been desperately missing the silence. The jungle is never silent.

  10. Thanks, Marcia I've never been to the jungle, but I can imagine it's a very noisy place. It's interesting what we take for granted. I think too, people have different definitions of silence, depending on what they're used to hearing.

  11. Simon and Garfunkle - "Silence is Golden." That's how I feel about it...it's just so precious, even if it comes only in short visits. Thank you for your post Ruth.

  12. Linda, I agree with you. Thanks for encouraging me with your comment.


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