Out of the Silence, Like Prayers

Today we recorded our first interview! April (Tony’s sister) and Jen (my wife) joined Tony and me in our new studio- made official with the addition of a new IKEA conference table. The recording sounds excellent.  We had a scare after taking an intermission, but thanks to power of the “Undo”, recovered the recording.

Earlier in the week, Tony and I decided that the standard question we will ask all guests is “What does healing mean to you?”  The question worked really well today and generated great discussion that rippled throughout the interview.  I’m really satisfied with that question because it is a strong connecting point between faith and mental healthcare communities.  From my perspective, the faith and mental healthcare communities are the primary healing elements of society.  A goal of the podcast is to help bridge the conflict and misunderstanding that exists between these two areas.

We took the pressure off by deciding not to force creating an entire episode today. Instead, we opted to focus on the interview only. Tony and I will add the other sections of the episode in the coming days so it is ready for March 1.

Last night, as Tony and I talked about today’s recording, there was some tension about what the other sections would entail.  It was my understanding that we would include a discussion of another podcast as part of every episode. I suggested The Liturgists.  Jen is a member of their Patreon community and both of us have listened to every show.  Tony was not familiar and questioned its relevance to the topic of faith and mental health. Ultimately, Tony listened to the “Spiritual Trauma” episode overnight and we did talk about The Liturgists during today’s recording.

The greater question is how to curate what we include in the show. Example – the Liturgists do talk about faith, but not mental health – so should we discuss their podcast?  As I like to do, I mentioned a Venn diagram.  While we do focus on faith and mental health, I think, for curation purposes, we should take a faith and/or mental health approach.

Another discussion was about including poetry. I suggested a poem by Wendell Berry. It is essentially about the responsibility of producing art. It speaks of the spiritual practice of prayer and silence.  Below is the conclusion of the poem, “How To Be A Poet”:

Accept what comes from silence.

Make the best you can of it.

Of the little words that come

out of the silence, like prayers

prayed back to the one who prays,

make a poem that does not disturb

The silence from which it came.

Do we include a reading of a poem on the podcast? If so, is poetry valuable enough of a form of art that it is an element of every episode? Should I include one of my haikus?

This may be a distraction and cut into the precious 45ish minutes we have, but it may also reveal to the listener the succinct beauty of poetry.

We have also talked about including some of Tony’s Delight in Disorder devotions as readings. As I thought about it, I wondered if we could have off week podcasts that aren’t our standard episodes. It may include a reading from Tony, an unedited interview, etc.  These are not decisions that need to be made now.

On that note, I will close by reporting that Tony hooked up with Lynda last night. Great progress is being made!

– written by Eric Riddle

About the Author
Co-creator of Revealing Voices and resident spiritual poet for the podcast, Eric advocates for the development of better mental health through art and environmental stewardship.