As we sat having lunch in Zion National Park at a picnic table by the Nature Center we were amazed by the lack of traffic. Oh, it’s small, hard to get to, it has to compete with its big brother, the Grand Canyon, and it was barely mentioned by the book we had on Utah’s canyon lands, but it has the most concentrated, outrageous rock formations I have ever seen. As we drove further into the park, the rocks surround us, front, back and both sides. You can actually drive right through the park via a mile long tunnel built in the 1930’s. It is narrow and dark but has incredible openings looking out into the canyons to let in a little light. We found a small pullout for our vehicle and stopped. It was dead calm when we stepped out of the car and the most amazing thing happened; we heard the sound of the air, not the breeze or the wind but the air. I have never experienced anything like it. The value of silence enveloped us.
As far back as I can remember I have been making noise thinking that it had some value. Today in recovery I am asked to consider before I add to the general din. Will it be helpful? Will it be a gift? These kinds of thoughts have been possible only in recovery. The process of clearing the noise out my head had to come first. It was quite a struggle at first. The habit of a lifetime is the first thing to appear in my brain. Now as the benefits of being quiet become more and more visible there comes a peace and serenity that manifests itself in being able to hear the sound that air makes.
So as I sit here on the Loveboat I am filled with gratitude that today I haven’t missed the miracle. My process of clearing the noise out of my head is outlined in our book “Dig Deep in One Place” It is so simple that it is easily missed, but once experienced, there is no going back. An open mind is a mind with nothing in it. I was never able to hear what you were saying because I was waiting for you to stop talking so I could share the noise in my head. I always had a better story than you.
Today as the result of the 12 Steps I know that you just want to be acknowledged. The greatest gift I can give you is to shut up and listen, hold your hand, pat your arm and really hear you. Silence is serving me well today; it allows me to be of real help because my listening to you allows you to hear your own solution.
I hope someday you will hear the sound of the air. Standing there in Zion between getting out of our car and the time it took for the stinky diesel truck to show up was God. That space was divine. I have come to realize that God is not the stars; God is the space between the stars. The bigger the space I can put between your remarks and my response to it is the size of my God. May you have a very large God.
God bless you, Bill