Heart-Silence

I am coming to appreciate the value of silence. I don’t mean just silence in the sense that there are no words. I mean heart-silence.

Some people, when you tell them your emotional state, what you’re experiencing, respond with advice or suggestions. I’ve noticed this for awhile, and it comes in several forms. When I was still involved heavily in church, people would say “Well God wants people to do this and that because the Bible says this and that.” Instantly their word became gospel, of course, and I was expected to take their advice. In recovery, I find people expounding on certain techniques couched in their “experience strength and hope” which they expect me to then take on. Because it’s experience, strength, and hope, of course, and I’m supposed to be learning from the experience, strength, and hope of others. This isn’t intended to knock ESH; everything I’ve learned in recovery I’ve learned from other people. I DO need people’s wisdom quite often. But sometimes, I need heart-silence.

Rarely do I find a person who will not respond to my emotions with “well I did this” or “this approach is helpful” or “well maybe you need to do this” and instead respond with simple heart-silence. You know what I mean. When someone holds your words in a sacred way, there is a certain silence to it. They might say something, or ask a question for clarification. But they aren’t trying to fix. And in that, silence happens.

Actually, I really find those moments spiritual. That’s how my interaction with my Higher Power is. Most of the time, my HP isn’t trying to fix me when I’m communicating with It. Most of the time, It just listens. Soaks in. Reminds me that I am loved.

So when a person in real life responds to me that way, I get a taste of what my HP is like. I relax. I feel heard, seen, and valued. I treasure those moments.

Moments of experiencing heart-silence from others remind me of a place here in Colorado that’s very special to me. It’s a tiny little graveyard out on the eastern plains. It’s silent, so silent that everything inside of me unwinds, like a ball of yarn when you pull on it. There’s a great bowl of sky and a great bowl of earth, and I am clasped gently between them. I am held, as surely as a baby is held in a mother’s womb.

And even though so much of me right now resists “Christian religiosity”, the only word that can really describe the hush of that place is this:

Holy.

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it’s not about having it together, you know.

Last Sunday, I went to church.

Yes, really. It was monumental for me, because church isn’t a place I’ve had a strong desire for in the past couple of years. But Saturday night, a strong desire came over me to go to church. So I texted a friend and asked if I could attend their church with them in the morning. I chose carefully; the church they attend is part of the United Church of Christ and as such, openly accepts homosexual couples. I couldn’t go to a church willingly that was less tolerant. But this wasn’t the only reason I chose to go.

It turns out that my Higher Power/God seems to have a brilliant mind. Flashes of Sunday’s sermon have been replaying in my head all week. It was Sunday’s sermon, too, that began my session with my therapist yesterday. It had thrown me for such a loop that I had to tell my therapist about it. Furthermore, it directly related with just what I’ve been processing. Disaster. Ha.

Most of my session yesterday revolved around a few themes. My inherent worth. My anger at God whom I don’t know how to define and seems so terrifyingly unsafe and somewhat capricious. That obvious connection to my anger at my dad. And interlaced with all that, the idea that I can’t fall apart, everything falls on me, and sometimes even my recovery just feels like another reason I have to be spiritual and not rage at “some people” like I want to. This is kind of a big deal because one huge reason I have addiction problems in the first place is because I am so damn resentful that “the rules” prevent me from falling apart. My addiction was a big way to say “fuck you ALL” and just fall apart anyway. To prove to everyone that I am not as strong as they, and I, would like to believe.

I slowly started unraveling sitting in the office. Slowly. This is still a new therapist to me and it takes a long time for me to be that emotionally open with anyone. But I unraveled, and unraveled, and unraveled… until I got back to Colorado Springs and sat down on the porch of the same friend whom I went to church with on Sunday. They weren’t home, but their porch was so safe that I just stopped holding it together. Finally.

I sat in the silence, the sheer silence that the pastor talked about on Sunday, with what I can only assume was God. And I was angry at It. And life. And so deeply sad about the life that I have led. This sadness, that often rests on me, that I’ve been pushing away for such a long while.

The pastor said too that maybe the Bible is more about dialogue with God. In those moments I took that to heart, because it helped me understand somehow. And I told God, whoever That is, that I was angry at It because I wanted so badly for It to be safe, but it never was. And I hated that about It. That’s all I’ve ever wanted and I still don’t want it.

And my friends got home and I just let them know – I’m falling apart. I need to fall apart. Because if I keep holding it together like I have all my life, I’m gonna get stuck in this same rut. I’m going to go back to my addictions because I will be so angry.

So. I went to church on Sunday and heard that after the earthquake, the wind, and the fire, there was a sheer silence. And I thought that maybe God was silent along with the rest of creation because no words can cover that amount of pain.

Right now in my life, there’s a sheer silence. Maybe because no words can possibly cover that amount of pain. And as much as I hate God/The Divine for being so unsafe… It is sitting in sheer silence too. That silence, somehow, is letting me fall apart.

It’s not about having it together, anyway.