Reflection by Molly Gabaldo, HOPE House resident
No AC in August. Violence spiking. No doctor for clinic this weekend. Critically ill patients at work. Internal self awareness and conscience producing undue anxiety. Burn-out is real.
I have learned more about myself this year than in much of my life combined. The decisions that I have made to be intentional about being uncomfortable and challenged have produced in me a higher level of awareness; awareness is exhausting. An excerpt from Thomas Merton’s famous “No Man is an Island” struck me deeply today:
“Music is pleasing not only because of the sound but because of the silence that is in it: without the alternation of sound and silence there would be no rhythm. If we strive to be happy by filling all the silences of life with sound, productive by turning all life’s leisure into work, and real by turning all our being into doing, we will only succeed in producing a hell on earth”
Please excuse the drama of this post, but Merton’s words are just as much of a reality today as they were when he wrote them in 1915. How often do we find ourselves with our faces in our phones, finding any opportunity to fill our mind with anything but a reflective moment, preferring to escape into the lives of others on our Facebook wall? Some of us can’t even go to the bathroom without a scroll down Instagram…you know who you are. And yes, this is oh so cliche to note the distraction of phones in today’s society to living our lives fully; but this is the reality that we have created.
The constancy that I choose to create in my own life is creating an inability to feel the interface of who God is in my walk, in my day to day. This is the reality of burn-out. Merton goes on to say:
“If we have no silence, God is not heard in our music. If we have no rest, God does not bless our work. If we twist our lives out of shape in order to fill every corner of them with action and experience, God will silently withdraw from our hearts.”
When we are so distracted by the trauma, tragedy, self giving or absorption of our world that we fail to pause, we fail a community that longs to hear our song. This is a reminder to self: to embrace the silence in the same way action is embraced, and allow the music of our lives to move from static sound to melody.