Ecclesiastes 3: A Time for Everything

1 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven …
7…a time to be silent and a time to speak.

My mouth was doing a mile a minute. It was sprinting ’cause time was short, my baby was whining, and I thought the empty space of silence in our Bible studying needed filling up. On auto pilot I felt it in my periphery – the stop sign: urgent warning to zip it or miss something. Something that was too cautious to try and outrun my sentences. Several paragraphs later I tried to gracefully putter to a stop.

But she was already looking down. She had retreated behind her worried brown eyes. Suddenly it was my heart that was racing chasing with the realization that all my heedless chatter might have cost the group a moment of truth. I tried to back pedal. And stumbled into graceless silence.

I have spent time at her house, cheered on World Cup teams together, watched her kids in the nursery at church and let my mouth ramble on and on into those “making conversation” moments. Today I realized she had more than polite conversation to share. And I finally shut up and listened.

Her sharing shamed my long stream of words.

Her story was raw and beautiful and made nonsense of all I thought I knew about her. The more she talked, softly, but with big courage, the further the goose flesh spread on my body. I listened. I couldn’t help but listen with my whole face and my salty eyes. I heard who she was when I was finally quiet. And was overwhelmed with regret at how much I had missed.

How much I might still have missed if I hadn’t felt someone yanking at the breaks.

But He did and I’m glad. Because when I was finally quiet He up and spoke volumes through her words and into that room today. Right there between the plastic zoo animals, the baby activity station, and the spinach dip I’d been eating five minutes before. I discovered living proof of all I claim to believe.

And I almost hadn’t let it get a word in.