I’ve always had a lot of words. As a baby, I found my words early. As an elementary school student, I got frequent notes from teachers telling my parents that I needed to be less chatty. As a social work student doing lots of introspection, I learned that I was a verbal processor with a side of extrovert.
But lately, I’ve struggled to find words. Many days, I simply don’t have words to text, to email, to talk on the phone, or even to pray.
There are no words to describe the depths of sadness I feel about Adam’s diagnosis. There are no words to describe the heights of fear I feel about cancer. There are no words to describe the weight of exhaustion I feel to my bones.
Lately, I find myself being silent and craving silence. I’ve been commuting to work with no music and sitting on the back porch listening to only the wind. There’s been something so calming and peaceful about silence in the midst of the swirling diagnosis that’s been screaming for so much of my energy.
I worried for a bit that I wasn’t praying enough. I worried that God might not heal Adam if I weren’t asking for it often enough. Cancer tests all the differing theology you’ve been taught over the years.
But then I was reminded that Adam and I not alone in this. We have hundreds of people praying around the world for Adam; praying the words we’ve lost. I was reminded that God doesn’t need my words to be who He is. I was reminded that the Holy Spirit is interceding for Adam. I was reminded that silence is sacred.
And so I sit in guiltless silence often now. And in that silence, I know God’s goodness and I feel His sweetness. And I gain strength.
My friend sent me this poem by one of my favorites, Amy Carmichael, and I wept. This is what I wish I could write:
Wordless Prayer – by Amy Carmichael
O Lord, my heart is all a prayer,
But it is silent unto Thee;
I am too tired to look for words,
I rest upon Thy sympathy
To understand when I am dumb;
And well I know Thou hearest me.
I know Thou hearest me because
A quiet peace comes down to me,
And fills the places where before
Weak thoughts were wandering wearily;
And deep within me it is calm,
Though waves are tossing outwardly.