It’s a funny thing to age.
Most of all, I think that I am supposed to see it as a bad thing. A concerted effort by the body to make things ache and swell and not function up to par.
But then, perhaps it’s all about who you are. Or, in this case, who I am.
As a child, perhaps even from the time of my first vision, I think that I focused on listening. Not to the sounds around me, but to the silences in between the sounds. People’s voices held no thrill for me. And the sounds of nature, sounds that I heard almost all of the time, became like a woven holding of my breath. I breathed within the sounds of nature.
But even then, I was mostly listening to the silences that I could find between the chirps and the buzzing and the sighs.
I have a thought that I bring out once in a while, when I’m particularly frustrated at the sounds of people around me talking: Be quiet. I can’t hear you.
And that was the way it was for me: I could always hear a whole lot more when people were quiet than when they were chattering away.
There are times, even, when I shy away from prayer. It’s such a machine in my head, whirring its cogs, bounding its work along. It’s too much work, sometimes, for me.
And I’ve realized lately that perhaps its the way I say the prayers that’s part of the problem: they are my “work,” so to speak, so I pray them to their bones. I work them.
All those words. All those concepts. Day after day. Morning, noon, evening, bedtime.
I find that I even “work” during contemplative prayer sometimes. Work the concept that I took into the prayer with me. Divine union. Faith. Father.
I find that I can even work the concept of silence.
Words are ever such a job for me.
Do it. Conceive it. Be it.
And yet the ache that comes from the flow of, what is it, God’s energy?, I can’t find in all the noise of prayer. Sometimes. When I let go and fly a bit. But mostly it’s not there. The sound of God.
The unsound of God.
Because calling it silence would be putting too much onto it.
Too much isness.
So now that I am old. Now that those others around me have such action to be busy about, I recall how I used to sit so still when I was a child.
As I matured, I felt embarrassed about this tendency of mine. I thought I should be hustling about like the others. I should be interested in the things of my life.
But I wasn’t. I just wanted to feel the swell. The eddy of understanding that would come, sometimes in a moment, sometimes in a lifetime. But it always came.
It came and it gave to me its love. Its knowledge. Its wholeness.
And I knew that I would never really understand it, perhaps bits and pieces here and there. It was, after all, everything, and I was nothing but a bit and piece of humanity just sitting there collecting the bits and pieces of love and knowledge and wholeness the best I could.
Well, maybe not even that.
Because one of the best things of just listening is that there is no good or better or best. There just is.
Perhaps that’s why I liked it so much.
It is very much like God: it just is.
So now, when people ask me, How was your Easter? and I respond, “Quiet, very quiet,” I still shy away from completing the sentence, How much better could life be than that?