Sometimes I sits and thinks, sometimes I just sits, (Winnie the Pooh)
The first coffee of the morning is an opportunity to sit and read before tackling the day’s tasks. That’s the theory but it doesn’t always work like that. Today, I pick up my book, flick idly through the pages, then close it and put it down once more; unread. One day I’m deeply engaged, today my eyes glaze over.
Outside, all is quiet: traffic noise is muted, the children have made their way to school. The house, too, is silent but for the rhythmic toc of the study clock and the occasional creak of my chair. With my book firmly closed, I look slowly about me for inspiration. From the wall above my desk, saints look down. For a moment they catch my eye and I ponder. As we go about our daily business, saints look on. Do we notice? Do we ignore them? Can we ever truly be alone in this eternal community of faith. The saints look down, what do they see, and hear, and think? No answer there.
I turn back to my coffee and sit in silent stillness, quietly supping. Is my mind as firmly closed this morning as my book? No. My body sits in silence but my mind wrestles with the thought of emptiness. I enjoy empty landscapes; the freedom of quiet space. Walking in the countryside I listen to the sounds of the land around me; the bird song, the wind in the trees, the sounds of small, unseen creatures rustling through the undergrowth. Even when these sounds fall silent, I know that the space I am in is never truly empty. Yet now my mind feels empty, and wrestles with emptiness, why?
The wrestling stops, I wait. Then, through the silence, a still small voice ‘how can you really listen, unless you are really silent?’
Sometimes I sits and thinks, sometimes I just sits. Sometimes I need to sit in sheer silence for only then can I truly hear
Rev’d Philip Payne The Notice Sheet for 24 Sep 23 can be found here
 Cf. 1 Kings 19: 12 et seq