Call it a moment of Zen, mystical reflection, or the contemplative life. But I found a very spare but uplifting piece in an old edition of The Alleghany Rattler — 1959 to be exact — titled “Silence,” and written by then Chaplain Bill Beal that has soothed my soul.
It came at a timely moment for me as I juggle motherhood afresh with my baby Ellis just about 6 weeks old. And of course, the march toward camp hasn’t ended (though I have tried to rest) which has made this a busy time to say the least.
So let’s hear what Chaplain Beal had to say about silence back in the day:
Take time out to be still and know whether you are truly living, or merely existing as a tinkling symbol or a babbling brook.
Each morning the bugle calls us to assembly: to be still and know that “I am God.” The few moments of quiet help us to prepare for worshiping Almighty God. Some mornings it sounds more like babbling brooks and tinkling symbols. On the whole these silences were creative and worshipful.
We climb Vesper Hil silently that we may be still and know our Heavenly Father. Silently we watch the sun go down, the horizon change from hue to hue, and the birds fly gaily to and fro. Our last Vespers for the first month was on Memories. We stopped to think of all the many blessings we received while at Alleghany. In the silence we offered Our Heavenly Father our grateful thanks for His many blessings.
May you be still and know that the Lord, He is God.
Chaplain, Bill Beal
Silence is helpful to me right now, as are the memories of the bustle and the quiet that’s found at camp. As you bustle through your day I hope that, in whatever way you acknowledge and celebrate silence and quiet reflection, that it will nurture you and support you in counterpoint to the rest of life.
–Elizabeth Dawson Shreckhise, Assistant Director, Camp Alleghany for Girls