By Michael DePiazza (Arizona)
This past week I had the pleasure of taking a vow of silence with several fellow students.
The rules were basic (or so it seemed): no talking for two full days so we could read our bibles and pray. For many of us, this was a daunting task, as we were a talkative group in the first place. This difficulty proved itself as the first day went on.
The time was amazing, we spent meals reading and praying which gave all of us the ability to talk with God regarding things going on at Summit Semester, plans when we go home, or just spiritual growth in general.
It is remarkable to see all the times in which you want to say something or make a comment when you cannot say anything.
You truly see what your tongue is willing to say and where your heart is, which was a huge growing point for all of us. It was also interesting to see how much of a struggle not talking was for some of us. In other words, there were things that did not go to plan, such as many who were under the vow of silence finding other ways to communicate which in some ways defeated the purpose of the vow.
Although this “loophole” was found in the end it did not seem to affect the overall experience of the vow, as it still allowed all of us to devote more time to reading and praying, which was the biggest thing we were all trying to do. Through doing this we also realized our dependence on the community, as it was extremely hard to make it through a day without almost needing to talk to someone about daily activities, such as dish pit, cleaning, and requesting information from our peers about class assignments.
…we had to find what the community was giving us in God instead.
We also noticed the emotional support that we give each other and how not talking effected that. This showed to all of us how rare and valuable this community truly is, as everyone here lifts all those around them up and treats them as brothers and sisters in Christ. Having noticed this during the vow, we had to find what the community was giving us in God instead. This was extremely beneficial for all of us, as it grew our spiritual relationship with God, as we needed to truly rely on him every moment of the day.
We also found that, when not talking, our thoughts themselves begin to become more directed to God. This came as we pursued time in the bible and prayer. The vow of silence was an experience I am very blessed to have participated in, and it allowed me to spend some much-needed time with God as well as acknowledge how great this community truly is.