Friday, November 10, 2017

Five Minute Friday: SILENCE



Today I'm linking up with the Five Minute Friday community, writing for five minutes on a given prompt. This week's word is SILENCE.



I love silence. I like to sit at my desk or in "my spot" on the living room couch and read, write, or just think, with no sound to interrupt my thoughts.

At times like that, silence feels like a cocoon of warmth, comfort, and peace.

But silence can also be harsh. 

As a kid I felt the icy cold shoulder of silence when a much-older relative refused to speak to me for days because of a passing comment I'd made.

As an adult I felt the sting of the silent treatment when a person who meant a great deal to me walked past me without a word and chose their seat in the room in order to avoid being face to face with me.

In his book A Hidden Wholeness, Parker Palmer distinguishes between being silent "with" others and silent "at" others; the latter can occur "when we give someone 'the silent treatment' to convey our disdain." He asserts, "Silence of this sort destroys community and may even make us conspirators with evil."

We know words have the power to hurt or heal; so does silence. 

It's true that sometimes we must decide (temporarily or permanently) not to communicate with someone if contact would be harmful or unhealthy for us, for them, or for someone else we care about or are responsible for. 

But silence should never be a weapon. It should be a space where growth and healing can occur -- not a tool of anger and destruction.



14 comments:

  1. I like the differentiation you point out between being silent with someone and being silent at someone. So true that silence can be wonderful in some situations and very destructive in others.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Lesley. I got the distinction from Parker Palmer's book; it really made an impression.

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  2. Silence as a place to grow - you've captured what I find in silence, Jeannie.

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    1. Thank you, Tim. Glad this spoke to you.

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  3. Yes! Parker Palmer is one of my faves! I'm in the 9 spot this week.

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    1. He's so wise, isn't he? I particularly like his book Let Your Life Speak. Thanks for coming by today, Tara -- have a good weekend.

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  4. Jeannie, you're so right that silence can be the cruelest weapon.

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    1. Thank you for reading and leaving a comment, Andrew. Always great to have you here.

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  5. So powerful, the different kinds of silence, and how when we employ the 'silent at' silence, we could be conspiring with evil. Wow! #29

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    1. I know - that's really sobering, isn't it. Thanks so much for coming by, Amy - I appreciate it!

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  6. Oh, how I can relate to the silent treatment growing up. That has been something God's been really working on me since getting married. Being silent AT my husband is so destructive to our relationship and to me inside. It allows anger to fester, rather than speaking and clearing the air! Thank you for your great words this week.
    I'm #86 this week at FMF.
    Miccah

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    1. Thanks for your comment, Miccah. Passive aggression is something I'm very familiar with from my upbringing, but it so often ends up being a case of eating rat poison and waiting for the rat to die, as the saying goes.

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  7. I love silence too. In fact I've been challenging myself to sit in silence for 5 minutes a day. Doing nothing. It is beautiful and life-giving.

    But I never thought of silence as a weapon. It can hurt, can't it? As much as cruel words.

    So glad you're doing 5 minute Friday, friend.

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    1. Me too, Betsy: it's been a great addition to my writing this year. Many weeks it's been the only thing ON my blog!

      Thanks for your thoughts.

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