Utter Silence and My Summum Bonum

I believe that silence is a tricky companion. In a world where an unending chaos of sounds and voices and machines is the norm, sometimes silence can be overwhelming. Personally I always have some kind of artificial sound going on around me at almost all times. Music while on the bus, in the car, reading or writing, television when I'm cleaning the house or doing school work, a fan when I'm sleeping. I live with constant noise. I guess in this fast paced, quicktime world that we live in, that's comforting. Even now, with no music, or television, or fan, I am still listening to the sounds of cars driving by outside the window, a clock ticking in the kitchen, and the constant tap tapping of my fingers on the keyboard. I wonder if I have ever truly experienced silence. Perhaps out in the woods behind my grandparent's home in Pennsylvania, or maybe in a cabin I slept in one night during a Girl Scouts campout. But surely even in those instances there was talking or rustling of blankets. I think silence utter silence would be refreshing, soothing, and somewhat frightening.

[[December Silence by andreydubinin. Very fitting I think.]]

Well during tonight's semi-silence I find myself contemplating hope. I bought a devotional book for women at the Christian bookstore and was reading the introduction. It began like this

‎"The hope that the world offers is fleeting and imperfect. The hope that God offers is unchanging, unshakable, and unending."

I often find myself hoping for things: new clothes, more books, patience, an updated cell phone, a better body, less anxiety. But the thing about that is that no matter how much of that comes true, in the long run it won't do me any good. I can have all the clothes in the world and look like a super model, but if I'm not happy with myself and if my faith isn't strong, at the end of the day, none of those earthly things will do me any good.

My senior year of high school I was in a humanities class and we were asked to come up with a summum bonum, which basically means the greatest or supreme good. I chose Hope. The funny thing about that is at the time I was still trying to find my faith but I hadn't yet developed a strong relationship with God. I chose Hope under the idea that it was important to believe in something bigger than yourself in order to have hope for something more than just whats right in front of you. Shortly after that I found my strong faith in God. How lucky I am!

I've come to realize that hoping for earthly things and earthly pleasures will not bring me joy or contentment. Now that's not to say that I've decided I don't want a new iPhone or nice clothing or a good job, because I do. But what I'm finally starting to understand is that it isn't those things that are going to complete me. There isn't a single thing on the planet that will solve all of my problems or give me true happiness. The only thing that can do that is God, my faith in Him, and my HOPE for something better than this life. It is so comforting to know that no matter what God is there for me. I can always, always go to Him and He will be there. It is so simple that it's almost scary.

Faith in God is like complete silence: refreshing, soothing, but also frightening. And our unwillingness to believe in Him and putting our Hope in mundane earthly things, is the noise. I don't know what's in store for me in the future but I do know that regardless of where I end up or the troubles that might plague me, I will always have God on my side and the Hope for a happy ending. 


  1. "summum bonum" ?? Thanks for translating this. Is this different than 最高 ?

    As always, injoyed the read.

  2. ... well that just says highest...? so yeah. different. You are an odd one Mr. Neff. ;)
    Glad you liked it. :)

  3. I remember you doing that assignment in your humanities class!! LOL! And I still didn't remember what it meant! You are so insightful! I'm so proud to call you "My Daughter"! I'm just amazed at your talent for words! I think these things and yet can't put them down or out there!! :D

  4. haha Thank you!!!! I'm quite proud to call you my mom! ;)


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