... Nonetheless, the Lord is waiting to be merciful to you and will rise up to show you compassion. The Lord is a God of justice; happy are all who wait for him.
from Isaiah 30, Common English Bible
Millions of people exhaled with relief Wednesday morning in the quiet of a post-election day. The incessant – and profitable – political advertising on television and radio was finished, and most of the political pundits were, if not silent, at least somewhat subdued.
Silence is itself a reward, and it is a fertile time for renewal and reflection about what has happened and what’s ahead.
The prophet Isaiah of the Hebrew Bible cast it in terms of divine justice and in restoration.
American partisan politics is far from divine, but it can be restorative at its best.
Frederick Buechner’s meditation on “Quiet” in his short book “Whistling In The Dark” speaks to anyone who needs a pause, an opportunity for new insights and renewal of personal hope, which everyone needs from time-to-time:
“An empty room is silent. A room where people are not speaking or moving is quiet.. Silence is a given, quiet a gift. ... Quiet chooses to be silent. It holds its breath to listen. It waits and is still.”
Mary Jo Asmus, who operates an executive “coaching service” suggests on her Internet site that reflection is a folding back upon ourselves to become aware of past action in order to impact the future in a positive way.
“Leadership requires a great deal of reflection in order to improve and change; yet we resist the idea of doing something that feels stagnant. We don’t get obvious and immediate rewards for doing it. Nobody is out there giving us high fives for reflecting. We don’t get paid for it. It takes time. And sometimes reflection makes us cognizant of our imperfections, and that doesn’t feel very good,” she writes.
The rewards, she suggests can become tangible.
• Improved action: “It’s ... possible that by reflecting on specific actions in light of your values ... that you’ll be better prepared to take the right actions in the future.”
• Better decisions: “If you spend some time reflecting after a decision, you may be able to understand what the good and bad outcomes were in order to be able to make your future decisions better.”
• “Reflecting on thoughts and actions and decisions can lead to healthier relationships. ... The rewards are not always immediate, but the effort that you invest in reflection will pay off over the long run.”
Our political and personal divisions suggest that a season of reflection is necessary.