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Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. I have rejoiced over the small pleasures that today’s New York City transit strike has granted me. Mr. Chattering stayed at home to work at his home computer and I am warmed by his presence. The Chattering boys, now on holiday break, are happy we are all together. And Chester, our dog, just wanders from room to room, longing to play ball or be snuggled. In the meantime, millions of pre-Christmas dollars are being lost, and thousands are struggling to get to their Manhattan offices. The watchful waiting and longing of Advent this year in New York has been intensified by the long period of wondering if a mammoth transit strike will take place. Now it’s on. This is it.
It’s also the day before Winter Solstice (December 21st), and yesterday, I received an emailed newsletter from Waverly Fitzgerald’s School of the Seasons that describes how Waverly has spent her Solstice day for many years: in silence.
When I first read that the feast day of Diva Angerona, the Roman goddess of silence, was celebrated on the winter solstice, I decided to spend the daylight hours of the solstice in silence, a custom I have maintained for many years. It requires a bit of advance preparation (warning my friends and family of my intentions, going shopping for any necessities ahead of time) but it has been well worth it. I love the way the silence changes everything. I become more aware of both the endless chatter that goes on in my mind and my inner voice. When I emerge from my day of silence, I feel like I’m emerging from a deep pool.
This week, at the darkest time of the year, look for opportunities to bring silence into your life. Go for a solitary walk, perhaps on the Day of the Winter Solstice. Turn off the other voices that normally fill your space: give up listening to the news, reading on the bus, or tuning in to NPR. Set aside an evening when you will be alone in your home, with no TV on, with no phone, with no book to read. What thoughts and experiences will you gather in silence?
The transit strike won’t silence the city that never sleeps. But it will–to say the least–kick us all out of our routines. I feel humbled by its power as I sit here blogging to Chanticleer’s “Sound in Spirit”
and “Christmas with the Tallis Scholars,” both excellent CDs recommended to me by Beliefnet’s music-saavy community editor Martha Ainsworth.
I exalt in every moment.