I uploaded the draft of this post a week ago, but never had I imagined I would find myself reflecting, in silence, about the loss of someone I knew fondly and whose loss will be felt so much. It was simply waiting for publication, thinking to myself whether I should write about something else. Then on Sunday the news went viral and I simply added this first part and a couple of corrections here and there. Certain coincidences, as much as the loss of Fr Eric, leave me speechless.
Recently I noticed that the aftermath of every tragedy or great loss is characterised by an important element which today is rarer than gold; silence. When people gather in remembrance of something tragic or someone’s loss silence characterises those moments.
Call it a prayer session or a memorial service or simply a minute of silence, people somehow feel the need to stop, remember and reflect. We might not consider this as being a formal form of prayer yet it is for sure an external expression of something within us asking for silence. In today’s busy life stopping to reflect is not so easy, yet when certain tragedies or losses hit us hard cause in us an emptiness which forces us to outwardly express this in some way or another.
Significant is the great number of Facebook groups, statuses or images asking for prayers for some cause or another, following a tragedy or a misfortune that occurs. It has nothing to do with “church” things but still prayers are asked for this or that; nothing wrong indeed. It is a request which is generally adhered to by many who when faced by such hurts feel obliged, if not to pray at least, to stop and remember.
The same happens when we hear of big tragedies – we remain speechless and the first questions which occurs is “Why?” This lack of understanding enrages us at someone or something or may be God. We feel disoriented. The need for reflection, remembrance or prayer is almost automatic. We might not understand why such happened, but we, along with others, feel the need to gather in silence, sometimes for just one minute, and reflect, at least out of respect, even on virtual social networks.
Apart from silence, people need space and time to connect with each other, to grieve or remember collectively, but most importantly to connect with what’s happening within themselves, may be with that which is beyond them. Loss and suffering bring us together; we find comfort when sharing them, and the best way to do this is to do it silently. Although today’s society disregards the value of silence, we seek it and unconsciously yearn for it This was in fact the experience of a group of persons who participated in the BBC programmes The Big Silence and The Monastery, which I whole heartedly encourage you to watch.
In reality, although very evident when faced by suffering and loss, seeking silence should be cherished more in order to be able to connect with ourselves. The search for silence will surely help us in our daily lives as much as it helps us in the lows. The sound of silence speaks volumes to us and although we all feel this need, in many cases we try to suppress it fearing what it may communicate to us.