My Comfort With Silence

Lara Schopp Articles, Corey Meyer

Corey Meyer, Director of Mission Partnerships

They told my mother I wasn’t ready for kindergarten. In Blue Springs they would do an interview-like meeting to assess whether children had learned some basic skills and were ready to be in the classroom. My “growing edge” (as we would say it today): social skills. My mother says the meeting went great, except, I spent the entire time hiding behind her. Occasionally I would peek around with one eye at the stranger across the desk and then retreat as soon as they acknowledged me. After some pleading my mom negotiated my way into kindergarten saying that I just needed some time to adjust and would be fine.

If only they knew now that I make a living by speaking in public…

I grew up with what I self-diagnosed as some kind of social anxiety. If a teacher asked a question, my eyes would immediately dart away and I prayed to become invisible (yes, even in seminary where I thought my prayers would work better). My grandparents’ friends of 20 plus years, whom I saw every Sunday, would greet me and I would hide and say “I don’t speak to strangers.”

Today it’s comical to think about who I was growing up and the person I am today when it comes to speaking, being vulnerable, and breaking out of my comfort zones. If only they knew now that I would make a living by talking to strangers…

I had a certain comfort with silence. I was scared to speak out not because I had nothing to say (my brain constantly has thoughts and ideas) but because I was afraid that it would be silly, stupid, ridiculed, or wrong. At some point in my life that began to change. Maybe it was leadership in college, maybe it was being called to ministry, or maybe it was believing that the world needed more people to speak up and speak out. The thing I have come to be aware of over the years is that God gave us all voices – unique, soft, loud, smart, silly, and wonderful – to tell our stories, to share our ideas, and to connect with others. I’m still working on my comfort with silence (and embracing the good in silence as listening around us) because as we live we all have something to say. And, well, when all of our voices are being used together, as God intended us to, I think that is something we can call Church.