What does it mean to keep silent? There are opportunities to share and to overshare for practically everyone with access to the internet, so what does it mean to keep silent? Ecclesiastes teaches us that there is a time for every matter under the sun. Ecclesiastes 3:7 states outright that there are times to speak and times to keep silent.
I awoke this morning pondering silence. I say I awoke this morning, but I honestly did not sleep much last night. We couldn’t find the cat. She just went AWOL at some point and every couple of hours I would restlessly wander the house calling her. There was no sign of her anywhere.
At four AM I went outside and started circling the house calling out to her. I heard no reply. At six AM I went out to let the dogs do their numbers. Suddenly there was a meow. The cat managed to get underneath the bay window. How? I have absolutely no idea how she got out, why she chose to hide there, or why she suddenly called out to me. I was glad she called out.
We often allow ourselves to get backed into corners through our own silence. We have a great idea, wander off into the darkness, and suddenly realize that it is very cold, dark, and rainy outdoors. I am probably anthropomorphizing, but we let our pride get the best of us until we know we need to call out for help. To keep silence when it leads to our own detriment is something some of us do far too often.
At the same time, as I ponder silence, I find myself thinking about next Monday. My wife and I will be going to the doctor’s office and we are going to be learning some good news that we will not be sharing with others until the 12th of August. We have a pact to keep silent on the subject until we can share it with our friends and communities together. We will keep silence because the silence will neither hurt nor damage others. This time is our time to share in this knowledge as partners and to prepare for the hubbub that will come after the announcement is made.
So, what does it mean to keep silent? Is silence an opportunity or a risk? Is silence a choice or a privilege? Is silence enforced or is silence a blessing? Is silence all of these things at different points? There is a lot to contemplate about silence in my mind this morning.