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God speaks to us in quiet places


It is golden. It is a virtue. It is more musical than any melody, rest for the mind, and sometimes it has the loudest voice. It is often the best possible answer, a friend that never betrays, and the subject of a classic Simon and Garfunkel song. And, frankly, I’m not very good at it: Silence.

I make a living using words -- putting them on paper and screen and ejecting them into the air -- so being quiet is, by default, not my specialty (though a few enthusiastic readers beg me to shut up almost every week). Truly, I wish it was different for me. I have always envied those who are quiet and meditative by nature, those who can eagerly hide in the stillness, and those who can retreat for days at a time into the calmness of contemplation.

That is my wish, but that is not my reality or my nature. But, we ADD-types need some quiet here and there. We need to subdue our minds and soothe the chorus of voices inside our heads. But how? I can only return to a story involving Jesus and two sisters. The two sisters were Mary and Martha who hosted Jesus in their home. Mary was a venerable St. Benedict, placid and peaceful, sitting at Jesus’ feet in silence. Meanwhile, Martha was in the kitchen shaking and baking, jumping and jiving, busting her can while the more brooding types breathed the ether of serenity.

Martha’s own ADD mind, being in overdrive as it always was, earned from Jesus an understanding, gentle rebuke. He effectively said (and I am paraphrasing here), “Martha, relax. It’s okay to be busy, dear one, but don’t overdo it. Yes, do the few, important things well; but let the rest of it go.” This is a prescription written by Jesus’ own hand, for all us Martha-types who need a little less talk and a lot more contemplation: “Chill out. Take a walk. Linger over your coffee a few more minutes each morning”.

Yes, we who are the hard-driving, multi-tasking, goal-orienting, noise-making, word-emitting Martha’s of the world would do well to learn the discipline of nothingness. By creating times of vacancy and empty space on our calendars and in our lives, we might not be transformed into spiritual mystics, but we might discover that God is easier to hear, for in the quiet places God will certainly speak.

Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, speaker, and author of multiple books. You can read more and receive regular e-columns in your inbox at

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