I really enjoy writing this column for The Union-Recorder. Over the years I have written about any number of things, some of which I thought were hardly worth writing about, but so many tell me how much they appreciate what I write.
But I have to tell you that sometimes it is not easy. There are some times I look at a blank screen on my computer wondering what in the world I’ll write there. I can think of a lot of things that might be worth writing about, but nothing much comes of it.
One of the hard lessons I have had to learn in my life is that there are times when it is best to say nothing. There are a lot of times when we think something significant ought to be said, but we can’t come up with anything.
I’ve had people ask me, “What should I say tonight when I go to the visitation for my friend who died? What should I say to the family?” and my answer usually is something like, “Just tell them that you love them. They won’t remember anything else you say, but they will remember you were there for them.”
Other times I have had to remind, mostly men, but sometimes women that, when your spouse comes to you with a problem they may not need you to solve the problem; just listen and let them talk. Your words may just get in the way.
Often people would come to me and tell me about a problem. “What should I do?” they might ask, and I would usually respond, “You already know what to do; you just need to find the courage to do it.”
The prophet Elijah got himself in a mess when he challenged the priests of Baal to a contest on Mt. Carmel in northern Israel. He wound up killing them all with a sword, but then had to flee away for his life. Queen Jezebel swore to have him killed. He fled to a cave and stayed, praying for a while, listening for what God might tell him. He described a great wind, a great fire, and a great earthquake, but he said, “God was not in any of those.” Finally there was a deep silence (some say a “still, small voice) and God was in the silence.
Don’t be afraid of silence. Sometimes there is much more said in silence that we can say in words.
Dr. Jay Hodges can be reached at Jayhodges610@yahoo.com.