From the Psalter:

For God alone my soul in silence waits;
from him comes my salvation.
* * *
For God alone my soul in silence waits;
truly, my hope is in him.

(From the Daily Office Lectionary – Psalm 63:1,6 (BCP Version) – December 23, 2013.)

Waiting in SilenceAccording to the Myers-Briggs personality test, I’m a raging introvert, and I think the test is accurate. People often misuse the term “introverted” as a synonym for “shy,” but I am not a shy person. I am comfortable meeting people; I think I converse with relative ease; I have no difficulty standing before crowds and speaking. Those are probably all a good things in a parish priest (my current calling) or a trial lawyer (my former career).

But doing those things exhausts me, and that is the nature of an introvert. It’s not that an introvert is shy, it’s just that an introvert is not energized by interaction with others; in fact, an introvert finds his or her energy drained by social intercourse. Introverts get their energy from dealing with ideas, pictures, memories, and reactions inside their own inner worlds. Although I don’t mind large crowds, I prefer doing things alone or socializing with one or two friends. These statements, taken from Looking at Type: The Fundamentals by Charles R. Martin, generally apply to me:

  • I am seen as “reflective” or “reserved.”
  • I feel comfortable being alone and like things I can do on my own.
  • I prefer to know just a few people well.
  • I sometimes spend too much time reflecting and don’t move into action quickly enough.
  • I sometimes forget to check with the outside world to see if my ideas really fit the experience.

What doesn’t apply to me is the twice-repeated image from today’s Psalm, the image of a soul waiting in silence! While I enjoy silence and often prefer silence, but I never feel that my soul is silent. Even in the quietest of times, my head is filled with an interior monologue; inside, I never shut up! My soul provides a running commentary on existence. If my own thoughts were being spoken out loud by another person, I think I would have strangled that person long ago!

What does it even mean for one’s soul to wait in silence? Sometimes I wish I knew. Especially today . . . this last day before all the activity of Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, the Twelve Days of Christmas, the New Year, this last day before all the madness! What does it even mean for one’s soul to wait in silence? I wish I knew.


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Father Funston is the rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Medina, Ohio.