They stand in a haphazard line, silhouettes with facial features illuminated by the eerie glow of phones. The rumble of a crowded subway station surrounds them but each one is still, focused, absorbed in the tiny handheld device. The scene is repeated in school hallways and hospital waiting rooms, in restaurants and service stations, on sidewalks and in airports. And in so many ways, that very glow somehow deadens the sounds and shapes of the moment. In the midst of the chaos of life, the device provides an escape, a distraction, from the present. That alternate reality creates a certain quiet, but it is not Quiet.
Quiet is stillness, the kind of stillness that transcends but does not ignore, the sound. Quiet is something that resides within and yet reaches out. Quiet is more than silence: it is a way of being present in the world, of being open to the moment, of finding a way to understand the wilds of the surrounding world. Quiet is the companion of Kindness and the Friend of Mercy. Quiet is about listening deeply and drinking long slow draughts of another’s experience. Quiet is both quality and action.
Quiet invites full presence to the moment, to the space of now. Quiet is meeting of soul and moment, the full reveal of self invested fully in the present. Quiet is what notices the stars in an inky sky and quiet is what perceives pain in a cloudy eyes. Quiet is about openness and becoming, and it is a gift.kwardness
And yet there is an awkwardness in quiet, in the lack of words and sounds an devices. There is a temptation to trust in the sounds and the chaos and the cacophony, to avoid the simplicity and the presence that Quiet means. Quiet bears a cost, and it can be counted in courage, in daring to be different and in believing that the cost is worth it.
Quiet is deeply embedded in the Catholic tradition, well formed and shaped in the rigor of monastic living and the formulas of retreats and even in the liturgy. Quiet is far more than the absence of sound. Quiet is the spacious soul that has room for so much more….and Quiet reminds us to breathe deeply and become more. Because we can.