(Westiminster Abbey Choir singing Psalm 62, from YouTube)
For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation.
He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall never be shaken.
How long will you assail a person, will you batter your victim, all of you, as you would a leaning wall, a tottering fence?
Their only plan is to bring down a person of prominence. They take pleasure in falsehood; they bless with their mouths, but inwardly they curse. Selah
For God alone my soul waits in silence, for my hope is from him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
On God rests my deliverance and my honor; my mighty rock, my refuge is in God.
Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. Selah
Those of low estate are but a breath, those of high estate are a delusion; in the balances they go up; they are together lighter than a breath.
Put no confidence in extortion, and set no vain hopes on robbery; if riches increase, do not set your heart on them.
Once God has spoken; twice have I heard this: that power belongs to God,
and steadfast love belongs to you, O Lord. For you repay to all according to their work.
There's no doubt--sitting alone and waiting in silence can be a drag--but there are other times when that's all a person can do.
Now, despite the fact many see me as talkative--loquacious, even--there are some things where I tend to be as silent as a tomb. One of them is anyone's medical condition. I remember a time some friends of mine were gossiping about someone's illness, and had not heard anything for a few days from them. I simply sat silent. Of course I knew exactly what was going on--I'd gotten all the parts that got taken out at surgery. A few weeks later, when one of them had heard what happened, and had put two and two together, she went, "You KNEW, didn't you?" I just laughed. "Damn..." she continued. You're a real professional."
Another is I am very silent with the very important secrets of others. The problem is, when one gets a reputation for being trustworthy, it breeds more people telling you secrets. If people knew how much I knew around this place--things people look for me to tell it to, to vent, to think it through, to get feedback--it would scare some folks to death.
The problem, however, is I grew up learning to keep a lot of bad secrets, that should have been told. In the wrong circumstances, I have been known to keep mum about a fair bit of wrongdoing and abuse. Not just involving me, but involving others.
Over the years, I've discovered part of sitting alone in the silence and trusting God also means listening to when God informs me the statute of limitations has run out on those seemingly ancient secrets.
I've found myself in that kind of situation lately. I've been having a lot of dialogue with a person who is looking to understand the big picture of something that happened long ago. The inquirer sensed some time back I knew something about it, but I've never offered much up. After all, it was a place where it created some brokenness in me, too. These discussions are difficult, because the questions asked of me inadvertently become reminders of those unresolved broken parts in myself. I don't think this person meant to stumble into my own brokenness on this. But I find these conversations can only go on so long before it either becomes too intense for the inquirer or I have to drop back and mentally regroup before going on to the next place with it.
The problem for me is that part of the healing process is time allows us to forget details. The inquiries involve details that this many years later, are rather sketchy in my mind. There's a place where my involvement in the story intersects, but over the years I've come to forget the pain in it. These questions re-open the pain. But what I hear when I drop back and sit alone with God, is to let these things be unearthed.
Reconciliation, is, at best, a messy business. In our minds, the gold standard of reconciliation is "happily ever after" and "kiss and make up." I'm pretty sure that, with this situation, there will be no kissing and making up, and I'd say the odds are pretty slim that these inquiries will result in "happily ever after" for the person doing the inquiring, in this situation. What I desire most of all is to have words for this inquirer that bring hope--but I'm pretty sure what I know has no intrinsic hope in itself. I only know my version of the truth, and I know my words, whether I unleash some of the old secrets or not, will not heal. They will only illustrate. I cannot offer healing through the content of my words. I can only ask that God grant healing for this person, in which the quest for understanding the whole story is a piece of that.
It's in these times we are doing as the Psalm says--hoping in silence for God alone--because only God has the power to heal these things. I've come to understand when nothing of ours has hope, we can only trust for God to make things right, in time. I've come to understand that when there is no "happily ever after," to rely on "forever after," because, ultimately, only God has the power.