Breaking the silence is not easy. We find it difficult to confront such sins as abuse, domestic violence, racism, prejudice, inhospitality, sexual exploitation, harassment and assault. It is hard to acknowledge and deal with the evil that exists in our world and among us.
Our feature article, Breaking the silence, reminds us of some of these realities but it also encourages us to pursue the opportunities we have in continuing to break down the barriers created by silence.
As we are reminded, these things are happening wherever there are people, including our neighbourhoods and our congregations, to people we know. Often that silence has not been broken enough for us to be aware of it or for it to be dealt with appropriately. Perhaps this article will help to break some of that silence.
One of the opportunities created when the silence is broken is to learn to be silent in a new way. When something is broken, my immediate impulse is to try to fix it or to find someone to fix it. I react the same way when such silence is broken. I want to rush in and make everything right.
Most of the time, it would be better if I remained silent and took time to hear more about what has been happening and can be done. Most important is learning to listen to the victim, providing a safe place for that person to speak without my trying to offer advice or becoming judgmental. After that there will be time for appropriate action if needed.
I’ve also learned that I need to listen to myself, to be aware of what hearing about these things stirs up inside me, my own experiences, my feelings, my reactions, my emotions.
It is my hope that you will take the time to do that when you read this article and if you need to talk about it, that you will find someone safe to talk to about it.
Bishop Susan Johnson offers some helpful re ection about learning to listen to the way we talk about others and how we might become more loving in what we say and how we say it (p. 34).
People who think that they need to “win at all costs,” might re-evaluate that attitude if they too take time to learn about our biblical ancestor Rebekah and how her strength has a shadow side (p. 31).
Are you at a stage in your life where you are wondering about what to do with your life? Perhaps Called to serve, p. 15, will help you with your pondering.
Kenn Ward, Editor