Monday, May 8, 2023

Sometimes It Is Good to be Silent

I am finding it difficult to write at the present time. I am feeling more tired and achy than usual. But it’s not just that. I’m still learning many things—but as my awareness grows, I also have to face the fact that I have passed most of my life in immaturity and ignorance. I feel like I need to be quiet (or quiet-er) right now.

I am 60 years old, but still more perplexed than wise. Death may be around the corner, or it may be 20 or more years away. I have seen so much in this life and pondered it, and I think I still have something to offer on the path of history. But nothing seems clear at the moment.

In the past five years I have been through a lot of changes, some of them very difficult. On the one hand, I’m more firmly convinced that “change” is essential to life. Yet sometimes change seems more terrifying than ever. We are all immersed in gigantic and rapid change all over the world, and many people experience it through the sudden ruptures caused by violence. But we all learn—each in our own personal way—that the endurance of changes “beyond our control” lies at the heart of every human drama.

It was really hard to watch my parents die during these recent years. They had all the helps and comforts of modern medicine. They were not in physical agony. But after 80+ years of living—years that were not lacking in sufferings of many kinds—they were brought down, finally, to a level of powerlessness in the end that I had never imagined I would ever see. Well, I can’t explain what I mean, but I have realized in a far more intimate manner than ever before how fragile the whole of life really is. Ultimately, we all must face this utter powerlessness… and we know not the day nor the hour.

If the death and resurrection of Jesus is not something more than a metaphor or a therapeutic trick, then it won’t mean anything in front of this powerlessness. I believe in His death and resurrection as a saving event that is greater than death. But my faith remains weak and immature, and I have nothing in myself that can sustain it. I can only live in Him, adhering to Him, hoping in Him, loving Him.

And to live this way is a mystery. My words cannot possibly measure up to it. Notwithstanding my vocation to discourse and communication, sometimes I need more silence.