Silence

come from a history of storytellers and detailers, which mean everything is a narrative for me. And the people I meet or even bump into become part of the narrative. A friend of mine says he loves to travel with me because I seem to already know the stories of people, and he is okay with the fact that I may have made them up. People that cross my path are rather transparent to me. I don’t usually have to ask a lot of questions about folks, because so much about them I already know. It can make me seem a little self-centered, but I am not. It can make me seem a little creepy, but I am… okay maybe a wee bit. What I really want to know most about people is where they have been and how did they arrive at that place where we have run into one another. My assumption remains, always, is that God placed us on trajectories to intersect for a reason.

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This is a Franciscan monk, Father Francis, at the Church of All Nations in the Garden of Gethsemane in the Holy Land. He has one job. His job is to maintain the silence in the Church. All day long he says “Shh.” All day. With authority. He spends his day in a holy place that teeters on the verge of tourist attraction and “orders” people with one repetitive sound to remember that it is first and foremost a holy place. How do you get that job? Is this a good job? On the church hierarchy ladder do you aspire to be the silence keeper or is it something you are condemned to do? Does he pray without ceasing while insisting others hush? He is the veil in this place separating worldly from holy.

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