So the other day I walked into my class, “The Art of Persuasive Writing” taught by Martha Gehringer expecting a normal class discussion like we normally have. So I was pretty surprised when Martha (who prefers we call her by her first name) walked in and asks us to gather all of our stuff, remain silent, and walk with her to a local cathedral.
As backstory, the night before we had been asked to read an essay about silence and how it can be pretty persuasive – sometimes more persuasive than anything; Martha described to us that she wanted us to experience the silence for ourselves in a truly authentic way. So, we put away our books and our cell phones and walked a few blocks away, in silence, to Christ’s Church Cathedral. Martha picked the church not for any religious reason, but more for the fact that churches are, typically, one of the few remaining ‘quiet places.’
It was hard for me not to pull out my cell phone and check my e-mail, Facebook or text messages, but I did resist (alright, I admit I did send one text message, but I tried my best to make the most of this experience).
I was pretty amazed by what absolute silence could bring. While I, at first, stressed over the many ways I could better be using this time, I eventually sunk into the silence and enjoyed it. While silent, I walked around the cathedral and took in some pretty interesting things.
Christ’s Church in Lexington has a history pretty closely tied with Transylvania. Transy was founded in 1780 and Christ’s Church in 1796 with its first Minister being Transy’s first President, James Moore. Of course, I didn’t know any of this before being here on this day; the church had plaques telling some of its rich history, including the fact that Henry Clay worshiped there.
During this silence, I learned a lot. It was pretty cool, too, to tell people about it and see the surprise register on their face when I discuss my college classes. It sure beats hearing a lecture drone on for over an hour…