An appropriate song for coming in from the winter of my discontent 🙂
The more I listen to this song (and this band) (and watch the video) the more I like it (them) and the more symbolic and theological the lyrics get (in many of their songs). This song in particular was the musical gateway drug that prostrated me at their lyrical altar. (Which is technically not true – the first song that registered in my consciousness was Stressed Out, but that was brief and I didn’t really explore their work until after becoming addicted to this song.)
It begins simply enough – sparse snippets of music as a young man (in a bit of distress) sits on the floor of his restroom. But once the lyrical sniping begins, the theological erudition that comes through is stunning.
The first line that resonates deeply with me is “Sometimes quiet is violent.” Think about your home, your office, your school, your neighborhood – wherever you spend your time. Think about the people that are around you, the electronic gadgets that inundate you, the noise and activity that constantly distracts you. I think many (if not most) people are suffering from information and sensory overload. We take in so much (reading, listening, socializing, watching, having fun, etc.) that there’s precious little time left for actually thinking about and reflecting on what you’ve done, or where you want to go (in life – not your next fun destination). Silence is a rare commodity, and when we encounter it, it seems . . . weird. Unsettling. Boring. There’s no stimulation, we’re alone with our thoughts, our history, our sins, our fears, our worries, our anxieties, our hopes, our dreams, ourselves . . . and we don’t know how to handle it.
But silence is necessary. Silence is important. Silence is part and parcel of growing in wisdom and grace. Silence allows us to listen to the still, small voice of our Creator. Silence allows our soul and spirit to expand, to encompass more than just the sum total of our bodies and minds. Silence lets us touch the Divine within and without, around and between.
But when we aren’t comfortable with silence, it can become torturous . . . violent. Thoughts and emotions and memories that we keep at bay with the busyness of life come bubbling to the surface. Half buried treasure troves of ourselves that we don’t want to focus on come into the forefront of our mind. (Or, as the song so eloquently says: There’s no hiding for me, I’m forced to deal with what I feel, There is no distraction to mask what is real)
But when we can embrace silence . . . we come to know ourselves, and we can begin to wrestle with those parts of us that we try to hide. We start the rewarding journey into our own psyche, delving into the eddies and whirlpools of our dreams and desires. We start to find a calmness and peace whether alone or with others, and we begin to carve out time to focus on the great works of love and learning and service. (Again to the muses: Peace will win and fear will lose) (and a bit more: Faith is to be awake, And to be awake is for us to think, And for us to think is to be alive, And I will try with every rhyme, To come across like I am dying, To let you know you need to try to think)
Or, as one of the walls in our home says: Make time for the quiet moments as God whispers and the world is loud.
As this new year begins, may we do our best to be filled with fire as we sit in silence.
Blessings & Peace,