Although she wanted to say exactly what she was thinking and feeling, all the time, and for many, many years, she did so, it came upon her one lingering night that the more profound response was no response at all.
The heaviness of a silence so deep and dangling spoke more than the careful sentences and specific words woven together like a holiday lattice. The not putting forth effort to engage in what always turned out to be high-level conflict. The less is more approach to, well, everything.
The lesson came hard and frequently. The beauty of speech is knowing when. The power in the written word is not wielded lightly. So that when someone speaks out and speaks hard and speaks definitely, the message is clearly understood by all.
The compelling need to speak right then, right now, and always right, that’s the weakness. There is strength in not saying anything. In leaving whatever the other person said dangling in the wind.
When the children bickered, she wanted to tell them, too, about the power of silence. Not needing to respond. Not needing to defend. So your brother called you a name – who really cares?
But the truth is that we all care and we all care deep in our bones so much so that we can’t listen to reason in the heat of the moment, step back and survey the situation enough to know when silence is golden.
Really, if you think about it, silence is always precious. In the early morning of a Maine mountain hike, before all the world was awake, the silence invited the beautiful sounds of a lake lapping against its shore, of birds singing their morning song, of the slither of a beaver into the water and below the surface to his intricately constructed home.
In the silence, we hear everything. Our souls can speak. God speaks. Wisdom grows. Confidence deepens. And contentment.
In truth, we must all strive to live in silence, even for just a short time. Perhaps the moments lengthen by day and the silence becomes more compelling, more beckoning, a beautiful arched finger pulling you closer.