I was taking a walk on Saturday afternoon when I came upon a woman walking with a cane. We caught each other's eyes and smiled a greeting to one another. As I was about to pass her, she pointed to deer tracks in the sand and we shared in that blessing together, imagining the deer quietly passing through the forest on this very path. No words were exchanged between us.
One of the benefits of silence is the wide open space it creates to love without division. Had this woman and I engaged in some conversation, we might have discovered some differences between us. Maybe we don't believe the same things. Maybe she is quite different from me in the area of politics. Maybe we have different ideas about how to live. Whatever. It doesn't take many words to create a wall between people, and no matter how flimsy that wall is, it's a shame.
But here in this place, this woman and I loved one another and felt a kinship instantly. We were exactly the same in all the ways that mattered. We both love Jesus and we had come to the forest to listen for his voice. That's all that really matters, isn't it?
I'm not suggesting that we should never talk to one another and sometimes even muck through difficult conversations. But I do think that silence is highly underrated. Maybe if we talked a little less and demonstrated love more often, we would have more blessings to share together. Maybe we would notice the footprints that are just beside us, binding us together.