I do not tolerate silence readily.
I wonder why that is. Certainly it is not that I want sound around me. There are many who seem to go through life with their ears constantly filled with sound - music, mostly, but all sorts of sound, I suppose. I can't imagine doing such a thing, really. Indeed, I quite resent going into some public place and being bombarded by music.
I don't walk around with the mp3 player in my ear. When I am at home I do not turn the radio on, just to have something going on around me. But those who know me well know that I have my own form of avoiding the silence.
I am never without something to read.
I carry a book with me, or a magazine. Given a moment of inactivity and out it comes. I don't read rubbish. But ... I really think I dread the silence.
Perhaps it is stillness that I dislike - or fear. Attentive stillness is what I really mean, I suppose. My mind is never still. I go to prayer. I pray actively, that's ok. I pray for this or for that. Or I pray formal prayers.
But when I stop - when I wait, when I listen - I become very uncomfortable. Or I go almost into a state close to sleep - a kind of revery, that is not attentive silence.
Well, I don't know why, but I am sure that stilling that inner voice - without simply 'switching off' - is something I need to do.
Advent begins next Sunday, the time of waiting leading up to the Birth of God. It is a time of waiting - of being still - of listening to the silence: