If he had known the course his silence would chart, he would have spoken. If he had known that his silence spoke to me lies of my unworthiness to be loved, he would have told me the very opposite – that he loved me more deeply than words could express. His silence spoke his disappointment loudly and I was too young to understand that it spoke more about him and his pain than about me. Through the pretense of the everyday as if nothing were wrong, his silence grew to be louder than any other voice my soul could hear. And it broke my heart.
It was an excruciating pain to know that his eyes avoided mine no matter how close we stood, that his voice would not respond to mine no matter how clearly I spoke. I stifled my cries as it was clear they would do no good nor bring about any change. Day after day, week after week, month after month, the silence chiseled the fragile strands of any innocent childhood belief that I was good enough to be loved.
If he had known his silence would create in me a desperation that was easily wooed by sounds of false love, he would have spoken. I had no warning that my opposition to him would cost so very much. His silence taught me that the consequences of mistakes in love were to be feared and that I would have to work very hard to be good. The emptiness left by the absence of the voice I adored most was mine to bear, and I while I gained sympathy from many who knew, deep inside I believed it to be just. I believed I deserved it.
If he had known that his silence would teach me to be a pretender, he would have spoken because he despised pretenders. But I had learned in his silence to put on a happy face and do the things before me as if it didn’t matter that I was broken. By the time he spoke a chasm had formed, but we never talked about that either. And in that chasm lay the belief that the key to love was to do and say and be what someone else wanted, and to keep silent about myself for no one wants someone who is broken.
I carried all that his silence taught me into the relationships I had and into my walk with God. It’s easy to hear the message that God is angry when it is what you expect. It is easy to believe that God can only approve of you if you do what is right. It is easy to believe that you do not deserve His help if you do not do exactly as He commands. It is easy to believe that His silence means you are unworthy of His love when silence is the very thing you fear.
My desperation and resulting failure at love were the very things that brought me to real Love. Having nowhere to run and no place to hide and my pretense in shambles, my brokenness spilled out as if a mighty dam had crumbled. Every sob I let forth was met with Tenderness. Every sigh of unworthiness was captured by Mercy. Every ache of unloveliness was comforted by extravagant Love. Every effort to “do” was quenched by what was already “done”. I found I was truly loved.
I am on a continuing journey of learning who He really is and what His love is all about. And sometimes love is silent. Like when a mother just looks at her child without a word because there are no words adequate to describe the love that rages inside. She asks nothing of the child but to let her look, to not turn away. I have learned that God’s love is like that.
I have to purpose to rest in His times of silent love because it is still easy for me to revert back to my impossible efforts and wrong ideas that I must somehow do something to deserve His love. Just this week I was asking Him what to do with His silence, and He simply said
“My silence speaks: Trust me.”
And I was not afraid.
“The silence speaks” was written by Kay Stinnett and first appeared on http://www.ourpassionatepurpose.com