Another lifetime ago- back when I was actually using my degree (hah!)- I was explaining the importance of rests to one of my piano students. I spoke about how we have to hold space for it, count it, make sure it gets it's full value.
"But, there's no sound at all," she had pushed back.
"Exactly," I replied. "And that's why it matters."
The silence, the nothingness. It creates room for the sound to break through.
But first...first, it has to break us.
And so it was a rainy Tuesday afternoon the week before Christmas that I drove to pick up Milo from preschool and, as I started singing the words to the second verse of one of my favorite Christmas songs on the radio, the tears came without warning, making rivulets down my cheek rivaled only by those on the windshield.
"Truly, He taught us to love one another. His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break, for the slave is our brother,
And in His name, all oppression shall cease."
It wasn't the first time I've been brought to my knees in my mini-van-- a space that has become as sacred as any church I've been inside. I think it was because it was the first time (pathetically) in my 33 1/2 years that I recognized myself in those lyrics. The realization that it was never about someone else. I am the broken. The offender. The doubter. The scared. The silent-when-I-should-speak-up. And those chains are just so damn heavy.
We don't need our facebook feeds to tell us that oppression is real. But it seems that the disparity of the world we desperately want, and the world in which we live is never so huge until December comes in with all it's bipolar glory. High hopes, dashed hopes. We do our best to wrap our wounds in warm fuzzies, and tiptoe around the hard truths scattered underneath the Christmas tree. Because what if we actually acknowledged them?
Sometimes- I learned- there's actually nothing else to do with the truth but hold it. There's freedom in that alone. We can yell and scream, type and re-type a blog post, even have an ugly cry in the car. All of that is well and good- and needed. And yet, weeks later, we'll realize that the true value was in the space. The stillness. The inhale-exhale.
Maybe silence- the awkward, heavy, content, stunned- is simply the prelude for the breakthrough.