Someone asked me to come to the faculty meeting because notes needed to be taken. Mr. Someone was my boss, so I took off my coat and put my purse back in the cabinet. I love my job (I do), but late afternoon faculty meetings push the limits of my otherwise enjoyable work day.
Do you ever have those moments where you can feel in the sarcomeres of every muscle the tension of life’s unaddressed concerns and worries? I felt it for just a moment, and I sighed as I walked up the two flights of stairs.
One more hour and I could get home to dinner and a nap.
“Welcome. Have some veggies and dip and sit down; we’re going to get started.” My boss stood in front of the group as we all pulled sixth-grade chairs up to short tables.
“We’re going to start as always with a moment of silence.”
Sometimes I forget that meetings don’t start with prayer at work, I get so used to church every Sunday. The room fell silent, and I stopped shuffling my papers.
It was the first time all day I had sat and rested my mind. It was peaceful as we sat for nearly a minute in silence.
As I walked to the T stop after the meeting, I thought about quiet and peace. In the Bible there’s a story about the prophet Elijah. The Lord told Elijah to meet him on the mountain, and a huge wind whips at the mountain, “but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice” (1 Kings 19:11–12).
There, in the silence, Elijah found the Lord.
Work and school and friends and entertainment are hardly fire or hurricane, but sometimes, in the thick of life, all I can hear is the wind and rain, and I forget to be silent. It has made me ask, What do I do to hear the voice of God?
So I’ve started taking moments of silence. A moment of silence on the street corner as I walk home from work. A moment of silence when I feel myself getting annoyed or frustrated. A moment of silence when I notice a beautiful birdsong early in the morning. And of course, a much appreciated moment of silence at the start of every staff meeting. I believe God speaks to us, and I believe he speaks in many ways. We have only to be quiet and we will hear him.