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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Conversation (face to face) (10/07/10)

TITLE: Among the Quiet Brothers
By Jim McWhinnie
10/07/10


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We lived our days in silent conversations, my thirty-eight brothers and me. Whether we were working in the bakery or in the fields, whether in the barn or in the chapel, we were in continual conversation with one another or with our very present Lord. Such was our life, the Trappist way, the contemplative way, the way of holy listening.

Oh, the guests who came to retreat from their busy, noisy worlds could only first hear the sparrows in the daytime and the crickets in the night. For them, the silence was at first a comforting escape from honking horns and screaming bosses. But then the silence would become the unnerving sound of lonely. I am quite sure that they saw us as ghostly mutes who walked among them.

But for the brothers who dared make this pilgrimage, the silence became filled with whispered thoughts, both human and divine. Our voices were found in a certain mist in each others' eyes or in a certain bend in our posture. A shrug, a smile, a pensive look, a lingered prayer, these became heartfelt communication among those of us who had made our home in this long and listening quiet.

It takes time to silence the Times Square crowd that clamors within our thoughts. But when the stillness finally settles in, the truly meaningful conversations finally can be heard; the silent conversations that take place, soul to soul.

In this realm of holy hush, one learns that there is far, far more that is needed to be heard than there is needed to be said.


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This article has been read 501 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 10/21/10
I really like the last line. It is so true we do need to learn to listen to others.
Lollie Hofer 10/21/10
Great thoughts and well-written. My husband and I have been married for 34 years...we can be in the same room without saying a word for several hours, and yet, completely communicate and understand each other in a hundred ways.
Troy Manning10/21/10
Nicely written! Perhaps Merton looks down & smiles. :) It may even have been the quiet of the monastic environment that enabled Luther the opportunity for the searchings of heart to recognize his total depravity & need for the imputed righteousness of Christ.
Troy Manning10/21/10
Nicely written! Perhaps Merton looks down & smiles. :) It may even have been the quiet of the monastic environment that enabled Luther the opportunity for the searchings of heart to recognize his total depravity & need for the imputed righteousness of Christ.
Dolores Stohler10/21/10
I was spellbound by the beauty of your entry. To see tranquility, peace and brotherhood in the eyes of another--what a rare thing these days! There is originality in your story as well. Who would have thought of body language as communication? Very well done.
Jody Day 10/21/10
I learned from this piece. I had to look up Trappists. This was beautiful and the last line was amazing and true.
Jan Ackerson 10/25/10
Beautiful--I like the phrase 'holy hush' very much.

I wanted this to go on--perhaps more characterization of the narrator?

This was a serene and satisfying read.
Kristi Peifer10/26/10
Short, succinct, yet full of depth. You packed plenty of great writing into a small package. Well done!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 10/28/10
Congratulations on placing 35th overall.