When God is Silent

by Rev. Terry Tripp, CFDM Co-Director


Just when I felt myself to be more grounded in love than in grief; I was reminded that they go together; never to be separated.  I don’t want to keep crying out for what I can’t have – my husband, John.  But I do and I will – maybe not as much or as hard as those first few years after he died, but it comes to me at times unbidden.  He is still loved.

My office window has a view of the Olympic Mountains and some of Lake Washington – I stare a lot!

Common license photo by Stevekuo


Time to stare
Lofty white peaks
Deep blue sea
Green branches unfurled
Sprouting closed buds
Promise yet to unfold
Witness to Love’s
Unbroken promise
Filling the spaces
Left behind

The mystery of empty spaces being filled by grief as a sign of love has captivated my search for God; a God revealed in relationship, not prescriptive signs.  This is a lot harder than following a religion of rules which would make life a lot easier.  Rules would have outcomes that make sense.  Rather than a relationship that can’t be controlled.

Beth Slevcove in her book, “Broken Hallelujahs”, puts it this way, “So, how do we ‘stay on the way’ when we experience periods of prolonged silence from God, when we are forced to figure out which of the ‘promises of God’ are true and which ones are wishful thinking rooted more in a need for security than in the mysterious otherness of God?”

Traumatic experiences of loss or simply acknowledging that to be human is to lose, can in itself push us to grow into beautiful Formations, when we ask God to help us survive the un-survivable.  Holy grief is that process in which we accept the unacceptable, when we choose to believe that God is doing something in love that we have no idea about.  

As I prepare for Lent, for pondering again the sacramental nature of God, I hope to regain a piece of myself that is simply love made purer in the face of loss; in the face of God’s silence.  I wrote the following in January of 2011, eight months after John had died:


Body and blood
Bread and cup
Suffering holds me sacramentally
One with God
Life is a sacrament
Received as given
Falling into embrace
Only love matters

I grieve because I love.  And I love so many people, things, places, and values, that in themselves would be nothing if not infused with God’s creative mark – and when that mark is recognized, we fall in love with God through them.  The loss of them makes life larger if the Creator of them is the sought out end.  Then silence is broken.

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