“It has been said, 'Silence is solitude practiced in action.’” ~ Brennan Manning
Brennan Manning’s inspirational and thought-provoking book, Abba’s Child: The Cry of the Heart for Intimate Belonging, is encouraging me to connect more closely with God as a path to my truest self. The author writes about what it means to belong to God as His beloved child, and how to rest securely in that relationship. I’m struck by the power of Manning’s words: "You are the Beloved, and all I hope is that you can hear these words spoken to you with all the tenderness and force that love can hold. My only desire is to make these words reverberate in every corner of your being."
In describing this special relationship with God, Manning talks about the beauty of silence and solitude during those intimate moments in which it’s just Him and us. God wants each person to have this connection, offering us these quiet times of communion if we are willing to accept them. In their stillness, I not only find comfort and serenity, but am more open to direction on how to better serve Him.
Manning refers to the “poetry of silence,” which allows us space within our busy human hearts and minds to engage with the holiness of our Creator. He writes: "Silent solitude forges true speech. I'm not speaking of physical isolation; solitude here means being alone with the Alone, experiencing the transcendent Other and growing in awareness of one's identity as the beloved.”
During times of conflict and loss, I have oftentimes felt all alone, which makes these experiences even more painful. But by practically applying Manning’s ideas to my life, I feel stronger knowing that I am never alone, even if there is no one around me. Quieting my mind, body and spirit has not been easy, especially when I first began trying it. However, as I continue to practice, I’m learning to accept the gifts of silent spiritual connection. In fact, it is becoming more natural and necessary to seek out these opportunities to be with God.
As with any relationship, time together is required for understanding and intimacy to grow. I am learning to engage with God not just by talking, but also by listening. In this tranquil silence, I find myself able to be truly present in the here and now, and closer to the person I believe He wants me to be.
We can encounter sacred space with our Creator in moments of solitude.