Silence

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first a great wind
after the wind, an earthquake
after the earthquake, a fire
after the fire
sheer silence

I have been told
God is in the silence.

Trouble is,
I am in the silence, too,
and I am not silent.

Thoughts dart at my head
like when you get too close to a mockingbird’s nest
and they dive bomb you
and you get the heck out of there
even though technically it is your shrub they are living in,
given that it is you who pays that monthly mortgage check,
not the bird —

but when they dive,
you exit, rapidly,
not bothering to argue over ownership.

I don’t know who owns my mind.
I would have thought it was God,
or certainly hoped so,
but just now I’m having difficulty seeing past the birds
so I can’t worry about that yet.

I’ve been told
if you stand still,
and don’t retreat
but don’t attack, either,
the birds will get used to you.
It might get worse before it gets better,
but eventually,
they will grow accustomed to your nonthreatening presence
and retreat quietly to their nest,
leaving you to breathe, undisturbed, in God’s creation.

I want that.
I need that.
I need the sheer silence
that is God.

I need my self
to leave me alone
so I can remember by whom I was made,
remember to whom I belong.

The sun is shining on me
even when the birds are darting,
but I don’t notice it
unless I stay through
to the silence,

the warm weight of the holy hand resting on my head,
the stillness,
the quiet,
the blessing.


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