The Sacred Silence

As I was hiking the Gainier Ridge and South Cove Trails alone today at Randor Lake State Park, I was sharply reminded just how rare true silence is.

How often in a day you do leave room for quiet and silence?

I know for me that I often turn on the television or the radio almost out of reflex, even if only for some kind of background noise. So many of us have an almost manic desire to fill every second of our day with sound.

Yet as I walked up the trail, I could feel the stress leaving my body in the midst of all the silence. Only in this case, it wasn’t true silence. I found I could hear the little rhythms of nature, like little chipmunks and squirrels scurrying about and deer prancing by in the background.

For our spiritual and mental health, we need to leave margins in our day for intentional moments of silence. We need the quiet if only to hear ourselves think.

This culture is almost allergic to silence. You will almost never hear a quiet moment on the radio or television or any kind of streaming device. But I believe that the vast majority of us are drowning in a sea of noise pollution. We need silence.

The Psalmist says of God: “Be still and know that I am God.”

The stillness has to be a deliberate and intentional act on our part. We do not naturally find silence unless we choose to make room for it. As with anything truly important, we won’t ever have time unless we make time for it.

Once there, you have to keep disciplining your mind, bringing it back from all the little tangents and diversions it takes (or at least mine takes) to be centered on hearing the still small voice of God in the silence.

But it has to start with silence.



My Big Hike

Normally, my friend and I meet at Radnor Lake State Park and choose one of the trails to hike while discussing all sorts of random topics (and of course throwing in bad puns wherever appropriate).

Today, I went solo for the day. I challenged myself that I could hike both the Granier Ridge Trail and the South Cove Trail (the two difficult hiking trails at Radnor).

Halfway through Granier, I thought I’d made a serious mistake. I was wheezing like a 90-year old and it was all I could do to keep putting one sandaled foot in front of the other.

Still, I persevered. An persisted. And I didn’t give up.

At some point, my strength revived. I got that proverbial second wind. I don’t know if there’s such a thing as hikers’ high (similar to runners’ high), but I think I might have experienced that at some point.

The key to it all was that I never quit. I did take a short break on the second trail.

At the end of the day, I tallied over 22,000 steps, according to the app on my Apple Watch. That’s a lot of steps.

The old adage remains true. Every journey of 10,000 (or 22,000) steps begins with a single step. And each and every step counts, no matter how hesitant or small or feeble.

Every journey of change also starts with the smallest of steps. All God needs is the most hesitant of agreements and He can still bring about the most amazing transformations. All He’s looking for from you and I is the “I believe. Help my unbelief,” ¬†as a good place to start.

Jesus looks at you right now right where you are and asks, “Do you really want to be healed? Do you really want the brand new world of uncertainty that comes with change and transformation?”

Oh, and yes, my feet hurt. I suppose that’s a given.