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This video briefly describes a model for approaching estrangement with the intention of healing from the experience. There is also an essay that describes how this model works. I will publish it next week.




The Sorrowful Side of Silence


In another essay I listed several of my comforting experience of silence: life-giving, deepening and satisfying. However, there is another side of silence that may also enter or invade our lives. This is the more difficult side of silence, which can be hurtful, sad or even dangerous. Facing it may require courage and compassion, tough love or even a life change.

If we ignore this type of silence we may sink into chaos, since this kind of silence can be a call to go to a deeper place within ourselves, a healing place, a forgiving place. And in order to do that, we may need the help of another person to accompany us. We may actually need to vocalize this silence into words and prayers.

Some of these statements are hard to read because they may trigger fear or shame or anger as we go to that deeper place, so be kind to yourself and if they are hard for you, read just a few at a time. And please add your own…


The silence of giving up on God

The silence of a job loss notification

The silence of a phone call not returned

The silence of a dear John letter

The silence of a friend who is not speaking to you



The silence of forced separation

The silence of going to the mailbox on your birthday and finding it empty

The silence after a slap or a curse

The silence of abandonment

The silence of deeply held resentment



The silence of shame and guilt

The silence of slipping into martyrdom

The silence of anxiety and depression

The silence of death

The silence after a gunshot



The silence of plotting revenge

The silence of time outs

The silence after a grave medical diagnosis

The silence after a car crash

The silence of enabling addicted friends



The silence of abuse or neglect

The silence of planning a suicide

The silence of a disapproving look

The silence of an unanswered question

The silence of a lost friendship




The silence of a lost marriage

The silence of loneliness

The silence of hearing loss

The silence of a secret affair

The silence of cowardly behavior



The silence of passive aggressiveness

The silence of hateful emails and text messages

The silence after your team loses the final game of the championship

The silence of the first sip of a favorite wine gone bad

The silence of a holy no


After reading these, focus for a while on something beautiful like nature, children, art, music. This is not intended to deny or forget the harsh silences but to balance them so we can gently take in the messages we need to hear in order to heal.


Ó Janet O. Hagberg, 2014. All rights reserved.


Reflections on this essay:

What are your most prevalent types of unhealed silences?

What do you do to counteract or embrace the?

How do you bring God’s presence into your silence?

What is your story of healing from some of your silences?





The Soothing Side of Silence


In this busy, sometimes chaotic world, it amazes me what a bit of silence instills within me. Peace. Rest. Calm. Even if I take five minutes between engagements to stop and come back to my center, I feel more grounded and present and able to engage more easily.


I want to be more conscious of ways to notice or even cultivate silence in my life. So I listed ways in which silence is present in enriching, healing or life-giving ways in daily life and in our spiritual lives. Please add your own…


The silence in friendship that bonds us between the times we connect in person

A silent retreat; just God and our souls communing

The silence of friends holding our grief with us when words are inadequate

The silence of a group praying together without words

The silence of a comfortable relationship in which talking is not always necessary even when we are in the same room dong our own things




The silence in church just taking in the music or prayers or the awesomeness of God

The silence of restraint from saying words that would be intentionally hurtful to another

The silence between notes or at the end of a musical piece before the audience applauds

The silence of our car when we have turned off the ignition but before we have opened the door

The silence of time when that is what is necessary in order to heal a relationship



The silence of satisfaction when it is clear a relationship has healed

The silence of a cat sitting in our lap with non-verbal affection moving between us

The silence of catching the eye of a friend, partner or spouse across the room while others are present

The silence preceding the national anthem at a sporting event

The silence of nature at rest, of quiet lakes, sunsets or sunrises, rivers at low ebb, oceans between waves




The silence of the calm before storms or the eye of a storm, whether internal and external storms

The silence in a movie theater after seeing a compelling movie or at a poetry reading after hearing a riveting poem

The silence of recognition or gratitude or awe at experiencing a miracle

The silence of internal pleasure upon receiving a handwritten card at our mailbox from a familiar address on our birthday

The silence of a hug, a kiss, a touch and genuine love-making




The silence of recognition when a courageous decision has been made and carried out

The silence of a ballpark when a batting star hits a long ball and everyone waits to see if it is a home run

The silence of God residing in your soul

The silence of bliss at the first bites of your favorite meal

The silence after the fireworks have exploded and fallen from the sky



The silence between a close baseball play at the plate and the umpire’s call

The silence of a baby sleeping

The silence of a cathedral between services

The silence after a spring rainfall

The silence after a bell has rung



The silence of viewing and absorbing art and beauty

The silence of loving emails and text messages

The silence of the first sip of a favorite wine

The silence of a holy yes.



Ó Janet O. Hagberg, 2014. All rights reserved.

Reflections on this essay:

What are your favorite types of soothing silence?

What affect do they have on you?

How does God enter into your silence?

What is your best story of sacred silence?





Today I share with you a refreshing prayer that I just received from Alice Loddigs in her little book of prayers called Insaneprayers. She has a blog, Thanks Alice for this helpful prayer.


hello God. it’s me. alice

remember me?

of course you do


you must be wondering the same thing

as i’ve been pretty quiet for some time

but i do remember you too


i’m hearing that you like to hear from me

i’m thinking you like boldness in your friends

i’m really trying to learn to be more vocal


i’m seeing you at work in my life

and in my head

and in my heart

and frankly it scares me  just a bit


do i have any audacious temerity?


i believe in you

why is it SO hard

to believe that YOU

have faith in ME?


i believe

dear God, help my unbelief


Reflections on this prayer

What is the bold prayer you would like to pray to God?

What holds you back?

What do you think about God’s faith in you?

What scares you about God at work in your life?

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