I wrote about this experience in a post from 2006. Having just revisited that post, I realized how much clearer its message is for me today. There is a sound to peace. It is a sound that overarches the noise of pain and fear. It is the "Sound of Silence." I hope you enjoy this Pentatonix version of Simon and Garfunkel's classic.
Here is, what I hope will be, a more concise version of this experience:
The routine was the same. Pick the girls up from preschool. Drive home while they stripped themselves of shoes, socks, sweaters. Arrive home. Open the door of the van. Watch them run in the back door. Gather shoes, socks, sweaters, books, totes. Find them in the kitchen, banging their sippy cups on the counter next to the refrigerator while screaming, "I want juice, I'm thirsty, give me juice." Over, and over, again. Day after day.
And I would drop everything, and get them juice.
Until one day, I stood in the kitchen looking at them and thought, "why don't they just get their own darned juice?" Good question. So I just stood there. I didn't rush to get them what they wanted, but just watched what was happening. And it occurred to me - quite quickly - that they were only screaming because they knew that they didn't have the authority - or the strength - to open the refrigerator, hold the heavy pitcher, and pour the juice without spilling it. They knew that I did, and they were trying to convince me to do what they wanted me to do.
They weren't screaming because they had power, but because they felt powerless.
So, I took a deep breath and said, "Girls, put down your sippy cups, put your shoes and socks in the mud room, hang your sweaters and backpacks on the hooks, go potty, wash your hands and come back downstairs, and I will get you juice. And they did it. Just like that.
As I stood there -- somewhat in shock -- I just knew this was a more profound insight for me, than how to manage our after school routine.
I had been in pain for days. A voice had been screaming in my head, "I am in so much pain, I cannot think." Over and over again. But all the while, I had been thinking. It hadn't been able to stop me. I had been thinking. I had been loving. I had been reading, and praying, and helping others.
It was as much a helpless, incoherent sound as the girls' urgent screaming had been. It was simply trying to get me to give up, lie down, go to sleep -- or worse. But, it couldn't make me do those things. It could only try to convince me to do those things myself. And I had been refusing -- but barely.
When I saw that pain -- and for that matter, fear -- were not powers, but powerless voices, I stopped thinking that they had information for me. They were sounds, rather than conditions. They were not informants. They didn't have some underlying meaning about my life, my body. They were not leading me to a "why."
With this realization, I began to stand up to them in a different way. I no longer felt bullied. I could look at each situation with dominion. I was not a victim of the noise. The noise had no authority. No embodied entity to push me around.
That experience happened almost twenty years ago. It has been a milestone in my understanding of the insidious nature of pain and fear. These passages - among many - from Mary Baker Eddy's Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures have been the edifying authority in my understanding of how to silence their inarticulate voices:
"It requires courage to utter truth; for the higher Truth lifts her voice, the louder will error scream, until its inarticulate sound is forever silenced in oblivion."
"Spirit will ultimately claim its own, — all that really is, — and the voices of physical sense will be forever hushed."
Truth -- not Kate thinking about Truth -- is lifting her voice with supreme command and declaring: "God is All-in-all." And in the face of Truth's authority, the inarticulate sound of pain, fear, doubt is forever silenced in its own oblivion. Love hushes the screaming of the physical senses, and peace is forever Sovereign.
offered with Love,