I was almost out the door when I read the message: the illness was back, her already weakened immune was being attacked once again. No, this isn’t the end. But it’s tricky. My prayers are full with her lately and I worry. I worry that the life of the woman who gave me life will somehow be cut short by all this.
My throat tightens.
A few moments later, another message. The car had spun out but somehow he regained control and arrived safely at work.What would I do had it happened otherwise? How lost I would be without him, I thought. Still, there is someone, somewhere, who will face this news today and how lost they will be.
In the near empty church, I took a seat and with everything that had happened I sunk deep into prayer.
I sat quietly and gave thanks and soon found myself in silence. There was nothing left which could be said with words. Sometimes, we speak through our actions and other times we speak through our silences. And as time passes, the more I am aware of how God uses both to engage us.
It was, as I have come to expect, a disappointing homily that morning. But he had my full attention when he said God had nothing more to say to us, He had said it all through Christ. The final word had been spoken.
How sad it must be to live with the belief that God no longer speaks to us, the conversation having ended nearly two thousand years ago. Since then it has been radio silence, or so he thinks.
I suddenly imagined we were voices in an empty room.
He meant well but he was wrong: God is always speaking to us. God, the one who is “Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all” (Eph 4:6) is speaking to us, through us.
YHWH, His name, all aspirated consonants. A name that can only be truly spoken with our breath. We speak His name constantly. But who takes note of their breathing? Only when it is ragged and labored do we pay it any mind. Only when we are gasping do we seem to notice it. We wait until we are breathless.
Through this unconscious process that keeps us alive, we engage with God, always.
The irony is that this conversation, which is so often little more than an ongoing whisper, can sometimes be deafening. It rings and echoes in every aspect of my life, my whole being vibrating with the sound, precisely because He is Life itself. He speaks through us and in us and nothing in our lives is outside the bounds of this sacred conversation.
Perhaps if we did away with our expectations we’d realize that God has never stopped speaking. It is only us, through our arbitrarily imposed limits, who has brought the conversation to a halt.