I have never heard a more beautiful sound than silence. It serenaded me on those nights when my tears shattered the stars. It woke the sun early and scribbled the thoughts of my mind. When the rest of the world disintegrated, silence was always there. I guess one could say that silence graced my life. Even so, it was not just the sound of silence that graced my life; it was the presence and feeling that accompanied the silence that helped to make it so lovely.

I can still remember the sound of the phone ringing. I listened to many different versions of "Happy Birthday" sung in incomprehensible ways by cheerful voices. Each call was heartfelt and loving but none of them was the voice I should have heard, the voice I wanted to hear. My mother's voice was silent to my ears.

The silence remained for two weeks after. When the phone finally obliterated the silence, her voice was hollow. Looking at the broken shards of silence on the floor, I wondered if maybe the silence was better than my mother's thoughtless words. At the same time, my conscience screamed, "This is your mother! What is wrong with you?"

My conscience was right; this was my mother that was speaking through the little holes to my ears. It was my mother whom I should have liked to hear. My conscience whispered that on more than one occasion. Honestly, I do not know whether I wanted to hear her voice. If I wanted to hear her speak, I did not hear what I would have hoped to hear from her. I hoped to hear her say honest, heartfelt words. I hoped to hear things like, "I love you" or "I'm proud of you." Instead of hearing those words full of sincerity, the sound of hollow phrases were left ringing through my ears.

In countless concerts, I breathed deeply during the quiet moment before my conductor began. In that moment the lights would dim, and the audience would sublimate to mist. In these breathtaking moments, I'd see the silhouette of the seat in which my mother's name had been inscribed. It was never that she just left for a bathroom break. She just had not shown up at all.

There were rare occasions when she would attend my concerts. When she did, the moments after the concert left for kisses and roses were awkward. Rose petals from other parents, my own included, fell to my feet gracefully but her hand never touched them. Her lips never brushed my cheek nor did I want to feel them. Again the quietness would dissipate, and the shards were more melodic than the unsteady cadence of my mother's voice. Her empty words said, "I love you" but the emptiness in her words left me with the same feeling…

For me, silence has a unique beauty. The silence that brings me serenity is filled with a spirit that gives me life. God is in the silence. It was He, through the silence, which spoke to me the heartfelt words my mother never did. He filled the atmosphere when she did not. He was in the silence that I cherished; the one that my mother's words cracked. He, through the silence, was everywhere my mother was not. Christ made silence beautiful.