Noise in Silence
Photo of Hannah Young
“The pause – that impressive silence, that eloquent silence, that geometrically progressive silence which often achieves a desired effect where no combination of words, howsoever felicitous, could accomplish it.” ~ Mark Twain
This week, I had the chance to reflect on silence – silence that is quite scarce in my household with two curious and excited toddlers, and a very long list of chores and activities. Every event is a chance to question and analyze for my three-year-old, each chance an experiment for the 18-month-old. The whole week is dedicated to family, school, play dates, chores, and everything in between, that even the assumed silence at kids’ nap and bed time is but a dream as the washer or dryer, the oven fan, the dishwasher, devastating news on the television and backyard community expansion construction continue to resound around me. I celebrate being part of these life moments, yet I still dream of pure silence once and again to truly rest my body, mind and soul. In silence, I also aim for rejuvenation to help me perform better as a wife, a mother, a daughter, a friend and a professional.
Often times, however, the silence I attain even just for a short time seems to be the same noise I try to break from. In these silent moments I continue to plan for the next hour, day or week. I revisit events that do not necessarily contribute to a truly rejuvenating silence. I snack. I seek for a light chore. I fidget. I converse with my thoughts. In essence, for what I aim to attain, I waste silence. I create unnecessary noise in silence. The world converses with me, and I respond (and sometimes solicit).
This week, I had the chance to reflect on and re-evaluate silence, and learned at least two things:
- It is natural and laudable to listen to, respond to and mingle with the world in silence,
- But as necessary, it is also essential and more laudable to have the ability to shut off the world in silence to truly experience and benefit from it.
How do you entertain the world in your silence? And how do you shut off the world to achieve your silence?