Christmas Silence

I’ve been silent here for awhile. I’ve been working on Advent sermons and special services for Christmas. But now things have become silent, a pause has descended. Today I’ve returned to my book project, writing my daughter Temma’s story. I’m sitting next to her on the couch, in silence except for the occasional airplane passing over and the Metra train coming in to the station a couple blocks from our home.

In Anne Lamott’s post on her Facebook page today; her Anti-Diet piece that she posted at this time last year, she writes how her therapist “helped lead me back home to myself, to radical self-care, to friendship with my own heart, to a jungly glade that had always existed deep inside me…” I like her phrase “a jungly glade deep inside me.” I wonder if that is what is deep inside Temma, a jungly glade? There were many times when she was younger that I would enter a darkened room in a hospital or a doctor’s office after a nurse had glued twenty-five or thirty electrodes to her scalp. We would sit together in silence while the little arms on the EKG monitor made faint scratching sounds on the graph paper, roller coaster lines forming a jungly glade guided by the electrodes measuring the activity of her brain.

Funny, how from a brain that is “damaged” there is a jungle measured out, while I suppose from my own brain there would be a simple flat beach. How do I form words from your jungle, Temma? How do I find and enter such a jungly glade? How do we find our way together through the jungle? Maybe the way through is by doing what we are doing, sitting together in silence, allowing words to form and then letting them go, like the ancient contemplatives teach us. Maybe our book will be an “un-book”.

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