If you would only keep silent, that would be your wisdom! (v. 5)
Everyone in the waiting room sat with the life-altering question their doctor would answer for each of them today: Was it benign or malignant? In a few minutes, I would soon find out for myself.
I looked at my mother, and she extended her hand with a knowing glance and a deep sigh. What déjà vu vortex had we been sucked into? Waiting room memories flashed before me: oncology wards with Aunt Laura, cardiac units with my stepfather, neurology clinics and physical therapy centers for my stroke rehab. Were we seriously here again?
Perhaps we sat in silence because of all the waiting room practice we’d had. Or perhaps words had no place there that day.
I squeezed my mother’s hand and she twirled my class ring back and forth on my finger. I tapped the rhythm of whatever canned song was playing overhead on her palm. Our loss for words felt exactly right as my callused hand and hers had their own conversation about the tragedies we had overcome. The soulful quiet, that rich silence, was so calm and soothing that I almost didn’t hear the receptionist call my name.
I took a deep breath. My mom offered her hand one last time, and I gave it a squeeze. Her hand was all I needed. It brought the gift of presence.
When have you needed to offer comfort but found yourself at a loss for words? What does offering your gift of presence involve?
God, help us embrace silence when words alone are not adequate. Help us remember the impact and wisdom that simply being present for others in soulful moments of silence can have. Amen.