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One of the first questions men ask each other is about their work. Here is how I like to answer it: “I help men enter silence.” I get some fascinating responses to that one! On the whole, I think the idea of silence strikes men as odd, and underneath there is some unnamed anxiety. Yet there is also curiosity and interest. That’s why I try to help structure silence for them. It could be just five minutes long or for an entire day, but something happens there that happens nowhere else. I think silence could be a man’s best friend. Here are a few reasons why:
1) Men feel increasingly pressured and fragmented. I hear this all the time. The relentless pace of life, the endless emails, the constant deadlines — the stress and scramble of it all is fragmenting men’s souls. They feel confused and disoriented. But in the silence, nothing is expected. The burdens of the world drop off. The anxieties of life dissipate. They enter another realm, the world of the eternal, the world of God’s presence. What they taste there is intoxicating. Instead of feeling pressured, they find the peace of Christ. Instead of feeling fragmented, they find their center in God.
2) Silence opens the door for self-awareness. Men are often out of touch with their emotions and desires. They become pin balls jostled this way and that, reacting and over-reacting. It is a life of defending, posing, and running. But silence allows the deep things in the heart to surface, the suppressed emotion as well as those core desires that shape men. When a man gets in touch with his heart, something astounding happens. He gets in touch with the Creator of his heart calling out to him in those desires.
3) Silence opens the door for God-awareness. Undergirding the entire story of the Bible are two massive realities: God is always present and He is always working. All of a man’s dysfunctions flow from his inability to live in these two realities. All of the fear and striving, all of the addictions and neuroses, all of the thoughtless acts and petty sins come out of a felt vacuum at his core. But in the silence, when a man waits on God, he finds that vacuum being filled. His soul is intersecting those two massive realities. He is not only being healed. He is become a real man.
4) Silence makes a man heroic. This last reason is hard to swallow, but I believe it is true. When a man experiences his longings touched by the Father’s love in the silence, he is free to give himself to others. He is no longer using them to prop up his own soul. He can offer them something life-sustaining and soul-nourishing. This is what true heroes do. They let themselves go for the sake of others. But the capacity to do that starts in the silence.
You have nothing to fear about the silence and much to gain. There you will meet the living God.
And there you will meet your true self.
If you are interested in learning more about silence, check out the Day of Silence on the website by clicking here or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org