Encountering Silence
Shirley Hershey Showalter: Simplicity and Silence, Part Two (Episode 51)
February 11, 2019
Part two of our conversation with "Blush" author Shirley Hershey Showalter.
Today’s episode is part two of a two-part interview. Click here to listen to part one. Our conversation continues with Shirley Hershey Showalter, the author of Blush: A Mennonite Girl Meets a Glittering World. Singing is to a Mennonite what silence is to a Quaker. For me, singing is a way of bringing silence and voice together. — Shirley Hershey Showalter She grew up "a barefoot girl" on a Mennonite farm near Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where her ancestors tilled the soil for generations. Speaking of her childhood, she describes her earliest encounters with silence as embedded in the experience of the vast spaciousness of the farm. Her memoir explored the tension she experienced "in the silence of her own heart" between the traditional culture of the Mennonites and her desire to discover her own voice as a teenager and young woman in the 1960s — ultimately choosing to embrace her Mennonite identity, but very much on her own terms. Being here in the Shenandoah Valley, looking out at the mountains, every morning it's part of my spiritual practice to just sit in my red chair and look at the mountains. — Shirley Hershey Showalter Shirley Hershey Showalter in Glendalough, Ireland Our conversation in today's episode begins with looking at the affinity between Anabaptist/Mennonite spirituality and Benedictine or monastic spirituality, including the spirituality of Celtic Christians. She shares how Irish mystic/poet John O'Donohue wrote eloquently of the contemplative nature of the mountains. She reveals why she came to call her memoir Blushand reveals who her silence heroes are (one living, one from history). She speaks about her most recent joy — encouraging people in their "final third of love" to find joy, jubilation, and a renewed sense of purpose." Find Shirley Hershey Showalter online at www.shirleyshowalter.com. To learn more about Threshold Choirs, visit www.thresholdchoir.org. At a Mennonite conference I heard someone say, "Mennonites try to take monasticism into the family." — Shirley Hershey Showalter Today’s episode is part two of a two-part interview. Click here to listen to part one. Some of the resources and authors we mention in this episode: Shirley Hershey Showalter, Blush: A Mennonite Girl Meets a Glittering World Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation Menno Simon, The Complete Writings Michael Sattler, The Legacy of Michael Sattler Parker J. Palmer, On the Brink of Everything Judith Valente, How to Live: What the Rule of Saint Benedict Teaches Us About Happiness, Meaning and Community John O'Donohue, Walking in Wonder Susan Cain, Quiet Dacher Keltner, The Power Paradox Willa Cather, Death Comes for the Archbishop Willa Cather, The Song of the Lark Willa Cather, O Pioneers! Marc Freedman, How to Live Forever Isabel Allende, The Sum of Our Days: A Memoir Episode 51: Simplicity and Silence: A Conversation with Shirley Hershey Showalter (Part Two) Hosted by: Carl McColman Guest: Shirley Hershey Showalter With: Cassidy Hall, Kevin Johnson Date Recorded: January 28, 2019