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.