It would be on the day that I begin this journey toward a Master of Divinity degree that I would be asked to be quiet . . . not speak . . . not talk -- for 3 1/2 hours. Not even during lunch. Eat in silence. That's what the Rev. Lynnsay Buehler, who led the Quiet Day Retreat on this first day of my orientation to Candler School of Theology asked of me and others who decided to break away and breathe for a moment from the hustle and bustle of getting financial aid matters ironed out and picking up parking permits.
And anyone who knows me, knows that was a tall order for me. I'm a talker. I know it. I accept it.
Sure I signed up for the retreat, but I didn't think we would be asked to not utter a word -- certainly not for 3 1/2 hours. Well, we could talk, but only for brief moments when Rev. Buehler asked a question or opened the floor for us to share. I spoke for about a minute when I introduced myself and even that felt like I may have been talking to long.
But nonetheless, I took part in the exercise that offered the opportunity for me to get some spirtual nourishment and spend some alone time with God. I needed to center myself and prepare my mind for the work that lies ahead. I'll admit that first, it felt kind of strange, as though someone had lowered a muzzle over my mouth or cut off my air passage. The fact that I was forbidden to talk made me want to talk more. And you know I finally did -- briefly, after I tired of the head nods and smiles at lunch that took the place of "thank-you's" and "hello's" and "how are you's?"
I just couldn't take it. So, I leaned over to the young lady at the other end of my table and whispered, "Hey, did you get your computer configured, yet?" But not before I had heard the small still voice of God whisper in my ear "I love you and no good thing will I withhold from you."
Good thing I had shut up. I would have missed what God had to say.