by Rabbi Katy Z. Allen
~ When we don’t know what to do, it can be difficult to sit still. When we are deep in grief or despair, it can be painful to stop moving. When we are angry or hurt, allowing silence into our lives can feel almost impossible.
Silence in all these situations can feel like an unwanted stranger. But silence is a good friend. And our own silence when we are out in nature, is even a better friend.
Those of us who have a bit of undisturbed land near us, and who can safely walk in these places, are truly privileged and blessed.
A moment of silence in nature can bring healing to a deep wound.
A moment of listening in an open meadow can bring new understanding.
A moment of quietly watching at the edge of a river can give new strength.
A moment of simply being surrounded the more-than-human world can give us a sudden new sense of connection to the Source of All.
The world is a painful place. “News” is generally not good and often is frightening or disturbing.
Lift up your eyes on high, and comprehend Who created this all,…Who calls each one by name… Do you know? Have you heard? The eternal God, the Mystery, the Creator to the ends of the Universe, never ceases, never grows weary, with unsearchable understanding. (Is. 40:25-28)
Searching out what is unsearchable. Reaching what is unreachable, touching what is untouchable. These are what silence, surrounded by the gifts of Creation, can give us.
Rabbi Katy Allen is a board certified chaplain and serves as an Eco-Chaplain and the Facilitator of One Earth Collaborative, a program of Open Spirit. She is the founder and rabbi of Ma’yan Tikvah – A Wellspring of Hope, which holds services outdoors all year long. She is the co-founder and President pro-tem of the Boston-based Jewish Climate Action Network, and a hospice chaplain at CareGroup Parmenter Hospice. She received her ordination from the Academy for Jewish Religion in Yonkers, NY.