The Eloquence of Silence

The Eloquence of Silence

I have been away from blogging for a few months but my research into mythology continued over the summer.  I have been listening to Professor Grant L Voth’s lectures on Myth in Human History, obtained through that marvelous institution, the Vancouver Public Library.   It is wonderful to be back connecting with fellow bloggers.

Christ Church

A few months ago, I stopped by Christ Church Cathedral, in downtown Vancouver.   It was an impulse visit, prompted by curiosity and the need to leave a busy street behind.  An open door welcomed me to the quiet solitude inside.  There are moments when you stop, breathe and listen to the eloquence of silence.

We live in a finite existence that limits us to time and location.  Perhaps that is how we come to understand the nature of sacred spaces, whether they are found in natural surroundings, or by way of human creativity and ingenuity.

Sacred spaces are those places that give meaning to a profound longing, a shared understanding.  It is recognizing the story of humanity, of embracing all of creation.  For if you look closely, you will see in the corner of the Tree of Life Windows, the image of the parishioner’s beloved pet.

Tree of Life Windows

Gift to the Cathedral by long-time parishioner Jean MacMillan Southam. The window was designed by Susan A. Point, CM a Coast Salish artist born in Alert Bay who lives on the Musqueam First Nation Reservation in Vancouver, B.C.

“No idea of any single culture will ever capture the entire human sense of god, or creation, or the hero; and to get a more complete human picture, we have to look at the myths of many cultures.”  Professor Grant L. Voth

 

38 thoughts on “The Eloquence of Silence

    • It is good to be back, Gallivanta! You inspired me to take the de-cluttering plunge – thank you, my dear friend. I am looking forward to World Animal Day. St Andrew’s Wesley United Church, a few blocks away from Christ Church is holding their annual special “Blessing of the Animals” on October 4th. You, Jack and Teddy are invited!!

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  1. I am very much longing for silence, wherever and completely agree with the sentence by profeesor Grant L. Voth. Thank you also for your beautiful images, dear Rebecca. I am happy to have you back ! Very best regards Martina

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  2. Looks like the second frame over the bottom right is a tiny dog face? I tried to enlarge it but it was still pretty small and my eyes are not the best. About silence, I’ve been going through some physical things lately (post surgery) and sitting with a lot of silence which feels healing. Too much stimulation seems to stir the body up. Interesting what we become aware of when necessity calls. Love to you Rebecca.

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    • It is a tiny dog – the constant companion of the parishioner who commissioned the stain glass window, with the only stipulation that her best friend be included in the artwork. There are many elements within this window that bring out the idea of living within our environment. I looked up the meaning behind the symbolism and found this explanation:

      “The Tree of Life is the central element, with movement and shape of the branches linking the five windows as one…..the branches supporting the salmon and birds; illustrating the common thread linking everyone and everything.”

      May your journey back to health be full of beauty and expectancy. Thank you so much for your comments and visit. Hugs and love coming back to you…

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  3. Nice to have you back, and a pleasure to hear from you Rebecca!

    A very eloquent expression on the peaceful pleasure of blissful silence, in this world of infernal noise, man has for the most part unwittingly created. Oh for a breath of silence… your words bring back to mind these few words in a short poem of mine, of a few years ago, which I’ve taken the liberty of sending to you as an appreciative poem reply, to this beautiful post of yours signalling your return.

    “ The Sound of Silence ”

    ~ a blissful pleasure ~

    Ah to be free

    Of obstreperous sounds,

    Man’s din vociferous

    That so abounds,

    Ever torturing

    An anguished ear

    Implied inured,

    We’re made to hear

    Too far beyond,

    Man meant endure…

    Oh for the sound

    Of deafening stillness,

    A resounding calm

    Of blissful pleasure,

    In the healing balm

    Of echoing silence,

    You can almost hear

    From the quiet whisper

    Of a falling tear,

    For the sound of silence!

    © Jean-Jacques Fournier

    July 18, 2012

    Jean-Jacques

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    • Oh my dear friend, what a wonderful benediction to this post. “In the healing balm of echoing silence.” I just breathed in deeply when I read your words. I agree, we are unwitting participants in the noise. Over the summer months, as I was embarking on my de-cluttering project, I realized that I must be a willing participant in reducing the noise in my live. Humanity, as a general rule, sets standards by numerical values – the more the better: many things, many activities, many tasks do not increase the utility of time or add to our satisfaction index. So I am using different measurements tools to change the conversation in my life. It has been an interesting summer…
      It is good to be back!

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  4. So very good to see that you are continuing your study of “myth”. The subject has always been a mystery to me. I just looked up the definition of myth, there are pages and pages of information/discussions/opinions and ideas. No wonder there are those who spend a lifetime studying the subject. Therein, lies the challenge to discover..

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    • And more pages – I know exactly what you mean, Ms. Frances. I especially appreciated Professor’s Voth’s way of suggesting further studies. This is a lifetime study, one that changes the dynamics of our interactions with others.

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    • My pleasure, Ms. Frances! The stained glass windows are magnificent. According to the information provided by Christ Church: “The earliest group of windows were installed and dedicated following the Cathedral’s firm major renovation in 1909 and the most recent window was dedicated in 2013″ (The last being the one that was in the post) Currently, the church is erecting a steeple, which should be finished within the next few months. Stay tuned.

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    • Oh, my dear Aquileana – you would love this place. It has elements of First Nation mythology that you would enjoy. Here is some background:

      “The sky, leaves and water are depicted using simple geometric and stylized leaf shapes, complementing the flower design of the tree of life. The leaf shape is strongly incorporated throughout the design, an integral element symbolizing “the healing of nations.”

      Love and best wishes coming back your way. Thank you for your visit.

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  5. I’m not a one for religious buildings much, but I visited one of the two cathedrals where I live recently, and it was surprisingly pleasant and peaceful, and I’m always attracted to the stained glass windows. Love your pictures here, the old and new together works very well, very impressive! I see what you mean about the pet! Haha…what a lovely idea to include the beloved doggy into the window!!😀

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    • I share your enjoyment of stained glass windows, not only for the colours and vibrancy of the sunlight coming through, but for the stories they tell through symbolic motifs. I’m looking forward to visiting Christ Church when the renovations are completed and there is a new steeple. Right now, it is under construction so the stained glass windows must wait for the grand reopening. Thank you so much fr stopping by!🙂

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