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?