I've been quiet lately. The tick-tap of my keyboard has been silent. My tongue has rested in the hollow behind my teeth. The picture in my mind's eye has been beige papyrus. My paint brushes have lain in the cupboard, completely dry.
I've looked at the trees down our road leading to the church. I've watched them burst into colors, and silently shed their jewels at the time when it seems they would need them most, to warm them from the stinging weather. They've been quiet lately.
I have an uncle I didn't choose. I have an uncle that my aunt chose. She's a good chooser. His wisdom, the way he understands and searches and abstracts, is the closest I've glimpsed to how God must be. The way he pauses to choose his explanations makes me think that he cannot find a method to explain the truths he has wrestled and labored to wrap strong talons around, simply because I have no language to understand. He's been quiet lately.
The quietness has come from questions: questions that you shouldn't ask during Sunday School, questions that the Yellers have answered in their screaming voices, and questions that would once make my stomach fall into that area that doesn't exist.
But now? Now they fill me with comfort-- to my brim. They are evidence that I'm now quiet-- listening, learning, opening, watching. I've finally shut up long enough to hear something.
And who am I listening to? The other question askers. I've heard enough of the black-and-white answers to questions that no one asked. I've had enough of the tight-fisted grasping of ideology and theology. My nails have dug into my palms, and my knuckles are white trying to protect my beliefs, my definitions. I was holding so tightly that I couldn't possible share anything that might benefit another.*
The question askers are honest and vulnerable, and you know what? They look like Jesus. They offer respect and see value. They dialogue and explore. And sometimes they're quiet.
*A credit to Jonalyn Fincher, who is one of the question askers, for the imagery of the posture of holding Truth.