The Silence Project

23 10 2013

“I know who goes before me, I know who stands behind.
The God of angel armies is always by my side.”
Chris Tomlin

A squirrel sits on the deck railing inches from my chair, its tail fluffed by the early morning breezes rustling the maple leaves overhead. A hummingbird darts from flower to flower in the garden nearby. It’s the beginning of another of a long string of summer days, each melting into the other so seamlessly that I can’t distinguish their beginnings and ends, were it not for the sunsets.
Above all the everyday noises, it’s the silence that I hear. For some time I’ve noticed it, so loud it’s impossible to ignore.

I heard it in the evening in late August as I sat on the beach and watched the sun work its magic on the western sky. Ribbons of oranges, reds and pinks were interlaced across the horizon as the sun descended beyond the edge of Lake Michigan. That day the wind was pushing the water onto the shore with relentless force. But even through the crashing waves I heard it—that silence.
Several feet inland from the lake, a little boy had dug a hole in the sand and was sitting inside, pure delight on his face as he splashed the water that seeped up from below the ground. Seagulls flew low along the shoreline, squawking as if supervising the child’s work. But all the sounds of a lake at eventide were powerless to drown out the silence.
It was our anniversary, and I had no idea how to celebrate it alone. So I went to the beach to watch the sunset on our special day and sat, cocooned in the silence, that very loud silence which had surrounded me for the past six months.
As I watched the sun glide beyond the water’s edge, I repeated to myself the words I had said to my children on the day of my husband’s funeral.
I don’t know how to do this.
The same way my days had lost much of their brightness, those last rays of sun receded and surrendered to the darkening of night, and it was time for me to go. I made my way back to the car, back to the abnormal silence of my home.
I don’t think I’ll ever get used to it. Walking into an empty house after dark, especially on a day meant to be celebrated by two, being alone seemed so. . .wrong.

I pick up my cold cup of coffee and go inside. The radio plays in the kitchen, masking the silence of my empty house as I dump the liquid and rinse the cup.
And then I hear it.
The song.
And I’m brought back to March 17, a beautiful, sunny Saint Patrick’s Day, the day everything changed.

Chris Tomlin’s ‘Whom Shall I Fear’ had begun to play in my mind that day, even before I suspected the truth. Even before I heard the words no one wants to hear, it was there. I believe God placed that song in my head to help me through the following pain-filled days and weeks ahead.
My husband had gone running and was found collapsed and unresponsive. On the way to the hospital that afternoon, I heard the words over and over. All that night as my son and I sat in my family room waiting for my other two children’s arrival from Chicago and Milwaukee, the lyrics continued.

And nothing formed against me shall stand
You hold the whole world in your hands
I’m holding onto Your promises
You are faithful, You are faithful.

I am carried back to that life-shattering day once again, but this time I sense something I was unaware of then. It’s like a warm, comforting blanket around me, and now I know what it is.
Chris Tomlin said it so well; The God of angel armies is always by my side. I know it’s true.
My God of angel armies has wrapped me in his arms, fulfilling his promises to me; ‘And surely I will be with you always, to the very end of the age.’ Matt. 28:20b NIV



2 responses

23 10 2013


Sent from my iPhone


24 10 2013

I’ve been singing that song since yesterday 🙂 Glory to God for that song.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: