No answers, only more questions

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The cursor on the blank page that is supposed to contain the words of this week’s column blinks at me. I sit with fingers on the keyboard and wait, not knowing what to type.

I call it waiting on the muse, opening to inspiration, listening for what speaks from my heart. This morning as I sit, my heart is silent.

Perhaps it’s silent because there is too much noise in the world right now to add one more voice to the chatter. Maybe, it’s silent because words seem small and inadequate when it comes to expressing my feelings.

Whatever the reason, nothing pours through my fingers except this explanation for why there is no column yet. Patience, I whisper, it will come in its own time.

The tugging from my heart in recent days is related to what is filling the news cycle — terrorists killing innocent people in Paris, probably blowing up a Russian plane and bombing Baghdad, again killing innocent people.

There are the images of refugees fleeing those same terrorists. A picture of a Syrian baby’s lifeless body lying on a beach haunts me.

There is also enough sadness and confusion right here at home to keep the questions coming for days. And, there is the constant noise of politicians attacking each other and droning on about their stance on refugees, illegal immigrants, gun control, taxation, foreign affairs etc.

Is my heart silent because all of this breaks it open and leaves it empty? Or, is it simply waiting for some explanation that will close the wound and make sense of what seems so senseless.

Over the last few days, I’ve read many words of fear and hatred posted on social media. Some of the comments condemn all Muslims; consider every one of them murderers, terrorists and bad people. Other comments remind us that Christians have their own sins to bear when it comes to violence.

Back and forth goes the arguing, accusing and condemning. I thought this column was going to be about reminding both sides that the holy books they follow have passages that seem to support violence as well as quotes about peace and forgiveness.

I even read some of those passages in both the Bible and the Koran. Then, when I thought about going in the direction of comparison, my heart whispered, “Keep silent.”

What will it accomplish to point out that there are passages of violence and peace in both holy books? Will it bring us closer to understanding each other or will it only invite us to defend our chosen beliefs?

My heart says be still and know, be quiet and hear. Is there much being quiet and listening going on right now on any side of the issues that seems to divide us? Are our hearts crying out to us to stop for a moment and let something greater than our small selves speak to us?

The cursor seems to be blink in time to the beating of my heart. That rhythm reminds me that every human on the planet has that same rhythm thumping away at this very moment.

I see my blank page is almost full now, and it’s not the column I thought I’d write today. No, this is a column filled with questions to which I have no answers.

Funny, as I sit quietly I hear words in my heart from an unexpected source. It is a poem written by a Sufi mystic named Rumi. For those who don’t know. Sufism is the mystical arm of Islam, the practice of seeking divine love through direct personal experience of God, something Christians know about as well.

How strange that I hear these words, but how well they fit what I feel as I sit with the silence of my heart.


“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing

and rightdoing there is a field.

I’ll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass

the world is too full to talk about.”

― Rumi


Nancy Blackmon is a former newspaper editor and a yoga teacher.